Nwaka Okparaeke’s photographs are distinctive for their dazzling, dreamy sense of colour and light. They seem to have been shot on location in a utopian world, lit by luminous sunbursts and iridescent skies.
The Nigerian and British visual artist, who works primarily as a photographer and filmmaker, infuses her images with a sense of euphoria. Often shooting from above or below, she toys with scale, perspective, and our expectations of reality. Her work is permeated by an otherworldly sense of the uncanny, accentuated by the recurring presence of surreal elements – mirrors with impossible reflections; a sky full of footballs; elevated figures floating above the ground.
As a photographer, she’s created memorable cover stories for magazines such as Crack, gal-dem, and Wonderland, campaigns for brands including Nike and Mercedes-Benz, and album artwork for double Grammy Award-winning rapper, producer, and songwriter Scribz Riley. Transitioning into filmmaking, recent years have also seen Okparaeke creating promo videos for the likes of Olivia Dean and Josie Man, all of which are saturated with a uniquely blissful sense of what Okparaeke describes as “peace, serenity, love and freedom”.
Text Emily Dinsdale