Genesis, West Africa
Àkọ́bí (Yoruba: // “the first to be born”//) is a fantasy semi-autobiographical origin story of the initial character, Akobi, a moniker traditionally bestowed upon the first-born child according to ancient Yoruba custom.
These same customs are rooted in a culture of honor, respect, duty, and valor; and as the first born, Akobi’s constant struggles between a desire to uphold these virtues and the heavy burden of this calling set the tone for the first phase of this epic tale.
Akobi is full of aspirations and liberated by an abundance of imagination; and yet, remains restrained by the obstacles of life and the challenges of its mental tribulations. The complexities and dilemma of this constant battle—and the many faces and personalities created through the struggle—are birthed and reflected across the breadth of the genesis collection.
Evolving over time, these characters are the origins of a wider storyworld centered on family, adversity, courage, perseverance, love, triumph, and self-discovery. Set underneath a backdrop of ancient Yoruba traditions, customs, and mythology, follow the origin story of its initial character as it evolves according to the oracle’s prophecies.
The Akobi collection comprises 10,000 entirely hand-made, unique, quilled pieces randomly generated on the Ethereum blockchain.
Previews of some of the hand-made traits
Ayobola Kekere-Ekun, the Artist
Anatomy, South Africa
The Akobi collection was imagined, created, and designed by Nigerian contemporary artist, Ayobola Kekere-Ekun. Each classic piece reflects her signature artistic style, “quilling”, a technique unique to her previous works, and one that she has mastered over the past decade.
Quilling, a centuries-old technique with origins in Ancient Egypt, has fluctuated in practice over the years. The technique typically involves the shaping and placement of thin sheets of paper or metal to create forms. From serving as a decorative tool for 16th Century European nuns to a form of entertainment for English Noblewomen in the Regency period, it is a quintessential craft that has seen numerous iterations. In the hands of Kekere-Ekun, however, it becomes a nuanced artistic technique, occupying the borders between painting and sculpture.
The process of conceptualizing, planning, and creating Akobi has been a thoroughly intriguing creative challenge. Each layer has to be carefully considered both as an individual piece and as part of a much grander vision. The nature of quilling also leaves very little room for error as every line and coil must be individually shaped and positioned—and cannot be removed once placed.
Every decision is a commitment. And therefore, the irreversible nature of the design process in creating each individual attribute, entirely by
hand, inevitably makes each Akobi that much more special.
The complex paper quilling and layering process that will instill life in our Akobis
First Borns, Mexico
The process of birthing the entire Akobi collection is ongoing, however, it is with great excitement, that the Elders present you with the first 6 of the 10,000 strong Akobi family.
Beautiful things take time but they are worth the wait.
First Borns: The first 6 Akobis ever generated
The Akobi family continues to grow under the benevolent gaze of the Elders. Across the globe, wherever they are, the Elders keep the family alive and guide its First Borns in projecting its unique heritage.
The Akobi collection is a collaborative labor of love from a diverse team of creative maestros, visionaries, geeks, comedians, and all-round mystical beings collectively called the Elders. They’ve known (and tolerated) each other for years and eventually decided to merge their many talents in the creation of Akobi.
Meet (some of) them below.
, Lead Designer
, Tech Guru
We’re bringing untold stories to web3, merging contemporary art, design, technology, and community in an innovative new world. Follow the journey as this story is written, one chapter at a time.
We embrace the inevitable fluidity of this (and any) creative direction while maintaining the overarching goal of telling an epic tale about Akobi through a journey of doubt, struggle, perseverance and love that resonates globally.
Commencement of the design phase
January 2022 to date
Physical quilling (by hand) of Akobi collection traits
Birth of the First Borns
Release of Akobi collection
Collaboration with selected brands and strategic partners
Partnership with gallery/auction house for charity auction of 1/1 Akobi physical piece
Sounds to Live By
Release of curated track list embodying the spirit of Akobi
Deliveries of hand-made, physical “Celestial” Akobi pieces. Reserved for selected Akobi community holders
Release of framed print copies of Akobis personally signed by the Artist
Breath of Life
Evolution of Akobi, bringing character(s) to life including 3D/animated Akobis
Expansion of the storyworld including Ibejí
Voyage to Source
All-expense paid trip for selected holders to meet Ayobola in South Africa, and witness quilling process
Merch, Merch & Merch
Launch of merchandising
Goodie Bags and Treats
Airdrops of exclusive rewards to holders; In-real-life events
Commencement of feature film/animation series production