Artist Toyin Ojih Odutola is sharing her personal picks with you: music, books, and movies that inspired her while she created A Countervailing Theory in 2019, opening at the Hirshhorn on Friday. The exhibition of 40 large-scale drawings tells a story conceived by the artist about a prehistoric civilization in which female warriors ruled over a class of male laborers. Get to know these artworks on a deeper level and uncover influences ranging from Octavia E. Butler’s books to the music of Solange, drawing from science fiction tropes.

Here’s what inspired the artist during a highly creative time in her life.


In the process of creating ACT, it felt like a return to some truer, ancestral self; something I’d either denied, or suppressed, or forgotten. The music in this playlist encapsulates how I navigated through a process of remembering and in that found a vision for a generative future. – TOO, 2021


  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Low (series), by Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini
  • Hellboy in Hell: The Death Card, by Mike Mignola
  • The Metabarons or The Saga of The Meta-Barons (series), by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Juan Giménez
  • The Incal: What Is Above (series, Vol. 4), by Alexandro Jodorowsky & Moebius


  • Robot Carnival (anime anthology, 1985), specifically the 11min short film, “Cloud”
  • AniMatrix anthology (2003)
  • Arrival
  • Minority Report
  • The Fountain
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Ghost in the Shell, 1995
  • I Am Not An Easy Man
  • Gattaca 


  • Patternmaster 
  • Mind of My Mind 
  • Wild Seed
  • Dawn
  • Bloodchild
  • Adulthood Rites