Design

This all-black Lego masterpiece of the Ghanaian Empire will blow you away

Behold the mesmerizing, electrifying Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE.

Ekow Nimako

Ghanaian-Canadian artist Ekow Nimako's design of the Ghanaian Empire is a visually striking project comprising thousands of Lego pieces, The Art Newspaper reports. The Afrofuturist reimagined the ancient trading town of Kumbi Saleh into a 30-feet-square sculpture.

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100K

The number of Lego pieces Nimako used.

Ekow Nimako

Nimako's Lego installation, called Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE, was commissioned by the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, as a response to the archaeological show called "Caravans of God, Fragments In Time." This show explores the rich histories of the Saharan trade that reached deep into routes within Europe, Asia, and other parts of Africa.

Ekow Nimako

Nimako's stunning Kumbi Saleh project is named after the ruined site that is said to have been the capital of the once-intimidating Ghanaian Empire, HighSnobiety reported. This physical site would have been on the edge of the Sahara desert and has been described as an economically potent area that opened multiple doors into trans-Saharan trade. Think of gold, minerals, salt, and ivory.

Ekow Nimako

Nimako's reimagination of Kumbi Saleh emphasizes an Afrofuturistic vision where Blackness, he writes, "is not constructed against the backdrop of enslavement, colonization, and violence." Instead of evoking trauma porn, Nimako’s Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE positively inspires onlookers to revisit a jaw-dropping chapter from world history.

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“The use of LEGO as a sculptural medium further evokes a futuristic aesthetic to capture architectural forms and elements from the natural world, transcending the medium's geometric form.”

Ekow Nimako, Ghanaian-Canadian artist

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The designer also added in his artistic statement that his Lego-based Kumbi Saleh "seeks to reclaim histories, reconcile ancestral traumas, and imagine liberated futures for all African peoples."

Ekow Nimako
Kumbi Saleh, as a physical domain made fully in Lego bricks, is entirely black. The center of the kingdom carries a dark and sleek tower pointing up to the sky. The periphery of the kingdom is a circular border that engulfs the various town centers surrounding the tower.Ekow Nimako

The outskirts of this empire constitute black Lego mountains and hills. Nimako also designed camels out of Lego pieces, taking the realistic nature of this landscape up by a few notches. Three of these camels can be seen carrying elaborate decor pieces on their humps. They're linked to each other by way of black chains.

If you want to see this in person — and you should — you can check it out at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

Rene Johnston/Toronto Star/Getty Images