Nne-Nwanyi-Isi-Ajata (Lady of the Long Flowing Dreadlocks)
At the beginning of the universe, all was one in the primordial blackness of space. Eke-Nnechukwu, the feminine counterpart of the Igbo high god, Chukwu, manifested Herself as Nne-Nwanyi-Isi-Ajata, the Lady of the Long Flowing Dreadlocks also known as the Lady of the Morning Star and Venus. She was the sourceless ocean of dawn and births, Her waist beads prefiguring fertility, the birth of the cosmos and emergence of life from the blackness of the womb. She awaits the hour of creation in the darkness of the evening, holding Her plot to enter Chukwu’s chamber at dawn in Her hand. This act will ultimately ignite an explosion that will shatter the primordial world and create the physical universe.
In the photographs of Infinite Essence and Cosmologies, Owunna leverages his training as an engineer to explore the nuances of darkness and light. He employs ultraviolet strobes, painted fluorescent backdrops, and carefully hand painted nude bodies of Black models that only glow under ultraviolet light. When he then photographs the models in total darkness, the shutter snaps, and for that fraction of a second, synchronized beams of ultraviolet light illuminate a glowing scene that reanimates tableaus of creation from the archive of African diasporic myth.