Amber Akaunu is a Nigerian-German artist from Liverpool who works across several mediums to explore concepts and ideas of race and identity.
Amber’s work is heavily focused on context and therefore the research and development stage is crucial. This stage can be in the form of engaging with film, conversations, art, literature, archives and more commonly music. Music is a huge influence on Amber and her practice, which is evident in ’39’ - a body of work in which Amber created 39 visual interpretations of 39 different hip hop lyrics to celebrate 39 years of the genre.
"I deeply appreciate rappers' ability to effectively tell stories that the masses can access and relate to whether directly or indirectly. I believe hip hop is the documentary filmmaking of music and as a hip hop fan, I'm currently exploring ways to incorporate the structure of hip hop (storytelling, sampling, realism, flow...) into my work."
Amber Akaunu recently directed a short film titled ‘Afro Hair Rituals’ that explores the idea that the process of doing afro hair is a sacred and intimate ritual which has been passed down for generations. ‘Afro Hair Rituals’ draws from Amber’s own experience of getting her hair done at her grandmothers home. The film was created with New Creatives North and made its TV debut in March 2020 when it was broadcasted on BBC 4.
In 2018 Amber graduated university with a first class degree in Fine Art. During her final year of university, Amber co-founded ROOT-ed Zine - a quarterly magazine and social platform that promotes, inspires and supports creatives of colour from the North West of England. Through this educational endeavour Amber has had the opportunity to work with talented artists as well as arts institutions including Tate, FACT and The International Slavery Museum.