AKQA: Abebe Bikila’s Neo Icarus

Abebe Bikila as Icarus coming out of an oil painting

AKQA: Abebe Bikila’s Neo Icarus

A Greek myth retold for the present

After solidifying his name in the rap business with three consecutive hit albums, Brazilian musician Abebe Bikila wanted his fourth studio record to warn audiences of the dangers of the pursuit of power and success.

For the album launch, AKQA created an updated version of the Greek myth Icarus, using modern tools to create immersive experiences.

To immortalise Neo Icarus, AKQA recreated the artwork ‘The Fall of Icarus’ from 1636, using the same painting techniques from Ancient Greece. The album was embedded in the canvas, giving life to it through AR and allowing the rapper to virtually sing an unreleased track from the album.

Alongside the oil painting experience, AKQA created a music video with modern parallels with Greek mythology where the metropolis becomes the stage for modern tragedies.

The artwork was exhibited for three days at the Art Museum of Rio de Janeiro and received more than 6,000 visitors. The rapper garnered over 2mviews in 24 hours and the album achieved a record 8.9mstreams on Spotify and more than 3.7mviews on YouTube.

More than just an album launch, the campaign took the rap audience and marginalised youth to a space usually denied to these groups – the museum – thereby making music, art and technology accessible to everyone.