By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
A display of paintings that explore the African environment and traditional Ghanaian imagery by Wiz Kudowor and Sami Bentil will on Tuesday March 31 close at the prestigious Ghana Club in Accra.
An Osaka Triennial award winner, Kudowor’s abstracted works – which draw inspiration from cubist and futuristic styles – allude to lush body contours, huge eyes, symbols, lines, masked faces and shapes that terminate in scenes of lyrical beauty, sensuous forms and glowing evanescent colour.
His symbols, which are inspired by diverse African cultures, reflect both modern and ancient African environment / identity. Indeed, he equally explores elements of Ghanaian traditions by employing a visual language inspired by African symbolic imagery and mythology, some of which date back to the Middle Ages.
Through a contemplative exploration of issues brewing around him – Kudowor turns the canvass into intrinsic dreams, ideas, thoughts, questions and expectations that culminate in a myriad of messages, which recall the vulnerability, capacity, sexuality and power of past and current societies.
Paintings by Bentil commemorate the grandiose splendor, spirituality and the didactic functions of Ghanaian symbolism and imagery owing to a dedicated quest to preserve African cultural distinctiveness and uniqueness.
Employing pointillism, which he has mastered over the years, his rural settings and traditional models such as huts, pots, horn players and clothing are enriched with modern touches while pointing to a distinctive mix of reminiscence, social interpretation and spirituality.
With millions of dots in fluctuating sizes alongside a good grasp of traditional Akan culture, Bentil effectively blends colours with subtle yet intensely textured hues that attract and sustain the interest of viewers while transmitting messages on his culture.
Located on the fringes of the Marine Drive Project in Accra – Ghana Club, which was originally known as Gold Coast Club – was established in 1947 as a counterpoint to the then European Club, which was for expatriates.