a black woman with an afro sits at a table with a white background. Her arms are folded on the table and she looks directly at the camera.

Can I Be Free by Gold Akanbi

Last month Unlimited had a call out for commissions from Black disabled artists for our blog. ‘Can I be free’ by Gold Akanbi is the first of these commissions. ‘Can I be Free’ explores the Black body and identity with influences from Afro-futurism and Artificial Intelligence, click the video below to watch.


Can I Be Free looks to reflect on the physical, emotional and mental restrictions placed on vulnerable and marginalised Black individuals by faceless institutions and state authorities. With our identities often being whittled down to nothing but statistics and figures in graphs and on computers, Can I Be Free attempts to express these restrictions placed on the Black Body and Identity, both metaphorically and physically. The need to exercise control over the performance of Black Bodies, whether visibly or invisibly disabled, through the tool of false benevolence is something that the State has normalised as a form of oppression. Inspired by Artificial Intelligence, Afro-futurism and ancestral divination, I attempt to express the constant journey and battle I face to be free.

About the artist

Gold Akanbi is an interdisciplinary artist based in both London and Liverpool. Using her neurodiversity as the basis for how she interacts with materials, she explores the concepts and histories relating to the Black Body, Black Spirituality and Womanism, using poetry, photography, paintings, dance and movement and sound to fully realise her conceptualisations. Being a 2nd generation bisexual British-Nigerian woman, Gold has often felt that her art seeks to not only validate her identity but the history of those just like her that comes with it.