Constructing Eternity by Isabel Okoro
October 7 - November 4
Eternity is a place. An imagined world constructed by recontextualizing what already exists. Lagos-born, Toronto-based image maker, Isabel Okoro shares her practice of world building in Constructing Eternity. This body of work is a ‘process presentation’ of Okoro’s developing practice as a visual artist. Experimentation, diving deeper into her archive ‘Friends in Eternity’, creating rituals in the dark room, crystallizing concepts and narratives that have taken shape during her residency in Mexico—all conceived out of a desire to be more intentional about her approach to substantive image making.
Okoro’s first point of contact with photography was an analog childhood, encouraged by a sense of joy produced by photos. Born in Lagos, Nigeria in 2001, Isabel Okoro was surrounded by family photographs, printed and neatly organized into albums by her mother (and very willing early subject). “My mom loved having her photo taken.” Okoro credits the awareness of the camera as a tool for producing joy, as engraving a sense of belief in her point of view as an artist. That the ordinary is valuable.
Visuals shaped by narrative are central to Okoro’s practice. A student and laureate of Neuroscience, she began systematically world building. The mind sways toward futuristic CGI or AI generated visuals when one thinks of imagined worlds. Although Isabel counts sci-fi amongst her influences, her perspective leans into natural landscapes, vernacular architecture, the transformation of the mundane and the power of the human spirit to breathe life into her concepts. “There’s a process to making something real. I had to give my ideas substance.”
A world called Eternity is populated by real people, real sunsets and real places. However its placelessness is entirely relatable. “The whole point of Eternity is to strive for something better than our current realities” emphasizes Okoro. So far, Eternity is divided into four regions. Dreaming, a small beach town off the coast and the first point of contact for outworlders venturing into Eternity. Luna Mira, the land of the wonderful moon—carries a spiritual presence where land, light and water intersect. Angelus, the capital city of Eternity and origin of the main body of fertile water, maternal in its essence. And Santa Daeze, mountainous, characterized by inconsistent but unique architecture and favored by its mostly queer population. All citizens of Eternity move freely throughout its territories, but there is emphasis in finding community and thriving in functionality.