Spotlight | Afro-surrealist Artist David Alabo on rendering his piece ‘Divine Opulence’ for ‘Lovecraft Country: Sanctum’

In the ideation of 'Lovecraft Country: Sanctum', The Mill Experience creative team toyed with various methods of collaborating with current Afrofuturist artists - from pondering a live sculpt in VR, and eventually landing on a vision to recreate their artwork as a VR experience. We came across David Alabo's surrealist pieces which are stunning and naturally entice viewers to want to be a part of his worlds. David presented 'Divine Opulence', a breathtaking desert scene in which a skull and a pair of praying hands rose up from glittering sands to tower over us.
Thought October 29, 2020

Divine Opulence was the perfect fit for the world of Sanctum. What were your original inspirations and influences for the piece?

The inspiration for Divine Opulence came from an urge to create a piece that felt powerful and supernatural – out of this world. The praying hands symbolize reverence and juxtaposed to the skull creates a jarring contrast that speaks to the duality that is often presented in religion. Growing up in a predominantly religious society, I have seen the effect it can have on people and their beliefs and this piece was an exploration into that part of my life.


How much did you know about the world of Lovecraft Country?

Lovecraft Country is the show I never knew I wanted until I watched it. What a ride! I can’t get enough and you just never know what to expect. I love seeing afrofuturism depicted in this strange & surreal world that HBO created. As a surrealist, I am truly honoured to have been able to contribute my vision to this show and the VR experience.


We had the honor of adapting your work into a whole new platform, where the audience was able to run around inside your artwork. What was it like to see your art presented in this immersive way?

Honestly, one of the most unreal experiences ever. I was blown away by the adaptation from the incredibly talented team at The Mill. It felt exactly like the world I envisioned whilst constructing this piece. A peek into my mind’s eye! The little bonus at the end where the audience floats backwards falling from the desert landscape was absolute bliss. 


Who are some of your greatest influences & inspirations?

Jimi Hendrix, Kwame Nkrumah, Fela Kuti, Mœbius, Salvador Dalí, Jodorowsky, Toro y Moi, just to name a few haha.


What else are you focused on for 2020?

I am currently working on new work from my upcoming solo exhibition, Life On The Horizon, which will be presented in Accra, Ghana around early 2021.


Read more about the ‘Lovecraft Country: Sanctum’ Virtual Events hereYou can view more of David’s work on his website or over on his instagram page @davidalabo.