Artworks generated by artificial intelligence (AI) have taken the world by storm, and Nigerian visual artist Malik Afegbua has taken this opportunity to create an AI fashion show that spotlights seniors on a fashion runway draped in stylish, colourful African attires.

With the lack of representation of senior citizens in both media and fashion, it was a no-brainer when his non-conforming Instagram posts got so much attention from around the world, including a “This is so dope!!” comment by Oscar-winning costume designer behind the Black Panther films, Ruth Carter, art exhibitions in the US, France and Brazil, a signed deal to work on a Hollywood movie and interviews with leading publications.

Titled “The Elders Series,” Malik tells CNN Style that his artwork challenges stereotypes around how older people are perceived:

The inspiration behind (this series) was my mum. She had a stroke, and I am very close to my mum. I just needed an outlet to find a way to express myself and not think about her on a life-support machine. I wanted to think about her in a happy place.

Malik’s hyper-realistic fashion shows also came to life when he saw images generated from AI platforms that depicted Africans looking less dapper and in an unpretty environment compared to their Black American counterparts. Because of this, Malik experimented with different phrases, refining his search terms until he got an image he liked, then edited them in Photoshop — repeating the process until his desired effects were achieved.

Now anyone can go into the AI and put ‘a Black man in a fashion show’ and you are going to get something like what I did, because it’s now in the system.

With more than 100,000 likes for the pictures on social media, Malik’s work has impacted the real world. He believes that AI can be a powerful tool for the arts — film and television and that the role of a human creator is pertinent to putting things in motion.

Apart from runway shows, Malik also has stylish AI-generated seniors living out their lives in everyday scenarios under “The Elders Series”.

Read the full interview here.

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