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Djimon Hounsou Teams Up With Artist Laolu for ‘Time to Heal’ Charity NFTs

BY Anna Chan

November 03, 2021

Djimon Hounsou has an eye toward the future for his latest project. The Oscar-nominated actor has teamed up with artist Laolu Senbanjo to create an NFT collection titled Time to Heal that will go up for auction. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Djimon Hounsou Foundation.

The series is made up of five portraits of the Blood Diamond actor. In each, Hounsou himself is the canvas, and his body is painted with Laolu’s celebrated body art known as Sacred Art of the Ori. According to Laolu’s website, the technique is based on “the practice of becoming one with yourself or awakening the god in you (Ori).” During the process, the Nigerian artist paints on his subjects as he connects with their “ori sha” — or soul — with the resulting art becoming “a reflection of the subject’s inner essence.”

In the Time to Heal series, Laolu paints Yoruba patterns and symbols such as a lizard, which represents the quest for freedom; waves and water, to symbolize adapting to one’s circumstances; a crown, to suggest self-awareness and confidence; and more on Hounsou. (Laolu has previously used this technique for Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade, and has also worked with Alicia Keys, Serena Williams, and more.)

“I feel this compelling need, this inherent obligation to give back to my continent, to my people, and to champion the idea of reconciliation and reconnection,” the actor, who is from Benin, West Africa, said in a statement. His non-profit organization works to fight modern-day slavery and human trafficking, as well as reconnect the African diaspora with the motherland.

Added Laolu: “There is so much we can do when we come together. Through my work, I’ve always sought to connect the world to my Yoruba roots. With this project, we’re doing that on a large scale by sharing not only our own stories, but that of the diaspora within the digital landscape.”

The auction begins Nov. 10 on the Binance NFT Marketplace, and ends Nov. 15. The collaboration between Hounsou and Laolu is the latest for Binance Charity’s NFT for Good campaign. A cryptocurrency account on Binance.com is required in order to bid on NFTs from the Time to Heal collection.

Hounsou and Laolu will also be participating in an Ask Me Anything chat on Binance’s YouTube on Nov. 9 to discuss their collaboration, entrance into the NFT space, how NFTs can impact African artists, and more.

Photo courtesy of Djimon Hounsou and Laolu.

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