Art in the Diaspora

Unveiling Ekomo: An Art Exhibition Celebrating the Rhythms of Africa

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Dive into the rich tapestry of African culture through music at the Ekomo Art Exhibition. This event shines a spotlight on the diverse musical traditions found across the continent. From the mesmerizing beats of drums like the Conical Drum and Gan gan, to the enchanting melodies of flutes like Oja, this exhibition takes you on a journey through Africa’s vibrant musical heritage.

Ara Gan Gan, 2020, Giclee, 101.6 x101.6 cm
Image courtesy of HSP Images

Discover a captivating collection of art pieces that beautifully blend African musical instruments with the human form. Expressionist artist Minika Ohobu and renowned photographer Hakeem Salaam bring these instruments to life in bold and colorful ways, capturing their essence and significance.

Venue: Waterstone’s Shop Front, The O2 Center, 255 Finchley Road, London, NW3 6LU

Date: October 6th – October 20th, 2023.

Join us for this immersive experience from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily and explore the fusion of sound, history, and art that resonates throughout the African continent. Step into the world of Ekomo and witness the harmony between tradition and artistic expression. Immerse yourself in the rhythms of Africa, where music becomes art.



Africa is rich in culture and diversity. Given the vastness of the African continent, her music is varied, with regions and nations having many distinct musical traditions. African music includes the genres Jùjú, Fuji, Afrobeat, Highlife, Kwaito, Makossa, Kizomba, Amapiano and others.

Historically, several factors have influenced the traditional music of Africa; a variety of cultures, human migration, beliefs and sometimes politics, all of which are intermingled. Traditional music in most of the continent is passed down orally (or aurally) and is typically not written.

African musical instruments include a wide range of drums, slit gongs, rattles and double bells, different types of harps, and harp-like instruments such as the Kora and the Ngoni. Musical instruments in Africa are not only used for making music, they are also used to communicate to both man and spirit, translating and emitting daily experiences and events.

Introducing the Artists

Minika Ohobu & Hakeem Salaam are spotlighting this project, Ekomo, which means ‘DRUM’ in Efik, and throws light on some of these instruments, their journeys, the transitions, the people, and the sounds they create across the African continent.

Minika Ohobu

A visual artist and expressionist, Minika grew up surrounded by nature and its many elements. Driven by passion and innovation, her artistic and cultural upbringing inspires her work and are heavy influences on her creative expressions which features a lot of play with lights and shadows. Growing up in Calabar, a society rich in colourful and flamboyant cultural experiences, was indeed a great influence. She started exploring art from an early age and fell in love with that form of expression. Discovering more about art drew her into the beauty industry where she rose to become one of Nigeria’s top makeup artists, her style of make-up ranging from soft to expressive looks. Minika is constantly exploring life’s journey and sharing it through various media. She considers the human body as one of her canvases to share these stories. Her art is bold, colourful and reflective of her rich African heritage.

Hakeem Salaam

One of the most imaginative minds working the camera in Nigeria today, Hakeem Salaam began making images in his mind as a child, and started capturing them in 1989 when he bought his first camera, a Pentax point-and-shoot Obscura. The fascination with still images grew, but he remained in his dark room making private photographs until 2001, when he began shooting real people with a Pentax SLR. Hakeem, a widely published photographer who is interested in documentary, travel and landscape, portrait and fashion photography, is the recipient of the Fashion Photographer of The Year Award. His most recent work was at 2019 Ake Festival held at the Mike Adenuga Center, Ikoyi, Lagos. Hakeem is widely travelled and has been involved in various photography projects chief of which are : Coffee Table Book on Abuja, Vitiligo Portraits, Beautiful Nigeria (ongoing), Foreigners on Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa. He is a Canon Influencer and trainer.

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