Mikael Owunna is a Nigerian American multimedia artist, filmmaker, engineer, and the President of the City of Pittsburgh's Public Art and Civic Design Commission. He is also the Co-founder and Executive Director of Rainbow Serpent, a Black LGBTQ nonprofit organization. Exploring the intersections of technology, art, and African cosmologies, his work seeks to elucidate an emancipatory vision of possibility that revives traditional African knowledge systems and pushes people beyond all boundaries, restrictions, and frontiers.

Owunna’s work has been exhibited across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America and has been collected by institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Nasher Museum of Art; Middlebury College Museum of Art; Equal Justice Initiative; Duke University Pratt School of Engineering; University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; and Mississippi Delta Health Center. His work has also been featured in media ranging from the New York Times to BOMB Magazine, CNN, NPR, VICE, and The Guardian. He has lectured at venues including Harvard Law School, World Press Photo (Netherlands), Tate Modern (UK), and TEDx. Owunna has published two monographs: Limitless Africans (FotoEvidence, 2019) and Cosmologies (ClampArt, 2021). Owunna’s multimedia practice includes film and live performance, in 2021 he directed the dance film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House) with Marques Redd, and in 2023 he premiered the multimedia live performance The Four World Ages with the Rainbow Serpent Collective. Owunna's work has been commissioned for major public art installations by organizations including the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Foundation, Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, Pittsburgh International Airport, and Orange Barrel Media.

Owunna is fluent in English and French and speaks basic Mandarin Chinese and Igbo.

Mikael Owunna Studios, LLC. is a minority and LGBT-owned business and is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE).

Image by Emmai Alaquiva for The Pittsburgh Foundation


For more information on Mikael's work and for any work or media inquiries, please get in touch.