Iyapo Repository


Iyapo Repository emerged from the collaborative initiative of Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde and Salome Asega during their residency at Eyebeam and The Laundromat Project. It draws its name from Lilith Iyapo, a character in Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series known for her ability to navigate two distinct and intricate worlds. This repository serves as a dynamic archive of both digital and tangible artifacts that celebrate and envision the future for individuals of African descent. It evolves with contributions from participatory workshops where attendees conceptualize and prototype envisaged artifacts across various fields such as cuisine, music, politics, and fashion. Selected ideas are then fully realized by the repository team, ensuring the technological integrity and fidelity to the original concepts.

Law Warschaw Gallery - St. Paul, MN

Iyapo Repository not only houses an evolving collection of art and artifacts but also includes manuscripts, films, rare books, and engages in collaborations and artist residencies focused on research. It has facilitated workshops and exhibitions in prestigious venues like Eyebeam, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts, the Shanghai Biennale, and has actively engaged the community with numerous public interventions. Through a partnership with The Laundromat Project, it collaborated with the Bed Stuy Museum of African Art to develop a curriculum centered on futuristic design and prototyping, aimed at fostering technological empowerment. Additionally, at Carnegie Mellon University, it introduced workshops utilizing virtual reality for artifact design and engineering, and at the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh, it integrated digital fabrication methods such as 3D printing and laser cutting into its workshops.

We can be reached at the following email: imagine@iyaporepository.org


Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde | Co-Founder / Executive Director

Photo: @_roxana_rios

Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde (ayo) is a Nigerian-American artist, designer, anthropologist and time-traveler living and working in New York. He studied Visual Arts and Philosophy at Rutgers University where he earned his B.A. His works range from painting and speculative design to physically interactive works, wearable technology, and explorations of “Reclamation”. His residency participation includes ITP’s S.I.R., IDEO’s Fortnight, The Laundromat Project, Eyebeam, New INC, and Recess Assembly. He has exhibited and presented at the 11th Shanghai Biennale, Tribeca Storyscapes, EYEO Festival, Brooklyn Museum, M.I.T. Beyond the Cradle, and Afrotectopia amongst others.

Okunseinde was nominated for the 2021 inaugural Knight Art + Tech Fellowship and is a 2021 fellow of the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought. His works exist between physical and digital spaces; across the past, present and future. Okunseinde’s works ask us, via a technological lens, to reimagine notions of race, identity, politics, and culture as we travel through time and space. Okunseinde has taught at multiple institutions including New York University, Bennington College, and Hostos CUNY. He holds an M.F.A. in Design and Technology and an M.A. in Anthropology from The New School. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at The New School for Social Research and serves as Director of the BFA Design Technology program as well as an Assistant Professor of Interaction and Media Design at Parsons School of Design.

Beth Gebresilasie | Director

Beth Gebresilasie is an experimenter aiming to channel their skills for social good. They are the director of Iyapo Repository, an afro-futuristic speculative design project. Recently, they finished their education at NYU Gallatin where they studied Suffering (Anthropologically, Philosophically, and through Art History). Originally from Eritrea, Beth moved to the U.S. when they were 12 years old. Given the opportunities available in the arts in NYC, Beth was able to develop their interest in art in tangible ways through programs in the MoMA and the Cooper Union Saturday Program. They were also a part of the Moth High School Storytelling program where they developed storytelling as a skill, and also presented their story at the Bell House. They have interned at several institutions, like Wave Hill, Creative Time, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in departments ranging from education, programming and curation. They have also curated two shows, one on Neurosis and the other on Sensitivity.

Salome Asega | Co-Founder

Salome Asega is an artist and researcher. She is the co-host of speculative talk show Hyperopia: 20/30 Vision on bel-air radio and the Assistant Director of POWRPLNT, a digital art collaboratory. Salome has participated in residencies and fellowships at Eyebeam, New Museum, and the Laundromat Project, and has given presentations at New Inc, Performa, Eyeo, and the Gather Festival. Salome teaches in the MFA Design and Technology program at Parsons at The New School and is a Technology Fellow at the Ford Foundation. She received her MFA from Parsons at The New School in Design and Technology and her BA from New York University in Social Practice.


Ashley Jane Lewis | Researcher

Photo: Brandon Lewis

Ashley Jane Lewis is a new media artist and educator focused on afrofuturism, social justice, and speculative design. Her practice explores black cultures of the past, present, and future through computational and analog mediums including networked devices, machine learning, data weaving, slime mold, fermented cultures, and live performance. Listed in the top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada, her award winning work has exhibited in Europe, Canada, and the US, most notably on the White House website during the Obama presidency. Ashley holds a masters from ITP NYU and a BFA in New Media Art from Ryerson University, Toronto.


Former Members

Mischa Kumar | Former Information Architect

Mariama Jalloh | Former Senior Conservator

Mala Kumar | Former Senior Conservator

Yvette M. King | Former Fabricator

Nicole F. Lloyd | Former Conservator

Jae Pearl | Former Conservator

Simone Johnson | Former Researcher


Website Design and Development: Nico Chilla, Patrick Yang MacDonald

Website Typefaces:

  • Du Bois by Tré Seals / Vocal Type

    • The Du Bois typeface is inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois’s collection of infographics portraits presented at the 1900 Paris Exposition visualizing Black America life in the late 19th, early 20th centuries.


Iyapo Repository would not exist without the inspiration and support of the following people and organizations.

Caitlin Cahill

Nontsikelelo Mutiti

Lauren Goshinski

Jehra Patrick

Suzy O'Hara

Victoria Bradbury

Photo: Patti Perret

Iyapo Repository is indebted to Octavia Butler, the pioneering science fiction author that shattered boundaries by centering Black characters and experiences in futuristic narratives. She created a literary genre rooted in Imagination, Creation, Reclamation, and Preservation, where Black people not only survive but thrive in fantastical worlds. Butler's work challenged the limitations of the present by envisioning a future where Blackness is a source of strength, resilience, and innovation. More about Octavia Butler