By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
The use of elements of traditionally acknowledged portraiture, which are characterized by diverse facial expressions that reveal intrinsic narratives is currently in vogue and is being adopted by some artists.
Currently on show at Gallery 1957 in Accra are works by three Ghanaain artists, Amoako Boafo, Otis Quaicoe and Kwesi Botchway, who powerfully portray their perceptions of Africans and for that matter people with dark skin colour.
These paintings are equally visible owing to relaxed and erudite bodily gestures, various temperamental expressions and highly centralized subject matters that tend to leave a void as regards to backgrounds.
Noted for his shaping of black forms, Austria based Boafo’s paintings are quite appealing in their luminousness while showing personalities in a global context amidst turning their bodies into highly perceptible abstract shapes.
Educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (Austria), his unruffled images are placed on an extremely high level thereby forcefully expressing their physicality and spiritually in diverse ways.
Currently based in the United States, Quaicoe’s figuration hovers around personal and socio-political issues. Undeniably, they centre around empowerment and redemption, sophistication and humility, curiosity and calmness.
Trained at the Ghanatta College of Art in Accra, his artworks serve as a medium for self-reflexive commentary while engaging with the history of the medium itself. Rendered in an approachable scale, the resulting portraits are intimate, inviting and friendly.
Paintings by Botchway capture and interpret emotions / moods of blacks in a manner that grabs and sustains the attention of the viewer while revealing the spirit, essence, struggles and heritage of his subjects.
While narrating the richness, diversity and complexity of blackness, the artist, who was also trained at the Ghanatta College of Art, equally reveals emotions of pride or shame, honor or disgust, humor and significance.
The exhibition ends on Sunday May 9, 2021.