By John Owoo
An exhibition of acrylic / oil paintings by Kate Badoe that are characterized by simple and complex patterns, combs, masks and geometric shapes ended recently at the Artists Alliance Gallery in Accra.
With subdued colours, she produces drawings and paintings that employ diverse technics alongside forms and traditional African art, which she effectively translates in contemporary terms.
Fully inspired by African image crafting including carved masks and presentational combs, Badoe’s mastery of the technique required for these fine line drawings is indisputable as her works grabs and sustain the attention of the viewer.
Currently based in the United States, her artworks uncover coordination and regularity – a move that inevitably reveal modern and traditional practices as well as objects of her rich Ghanaian cultural heritage.
Badoe clearly has talent to spare as she exhibits an ability to touch on a wide range of moods – from the lyrical to the frenetic – while carving out to more ambitious territory. Indeed, stylized human forms and worm-like lines culminate in mask heads that accompany extremely distorted human bodies.
Obviously, there is a quality of childlike wonder in her pieces – both in the primary colours and the sharp contrasts of light and dark – not to mention a regular / structured craftsmanship that evoke works that are wrapped in philosophical underpinnings.
She “transplants” the heads of Akuaba dolls on giant combs and near circular human bodies in a manner that reveal some form of tension between innocence and sophistication as geometric shapes lurk at random on her canvas.
Patches of white space that often recur in her works enable the pieces to sparkle. Undeniably, her “Sankofa” birds abound in spurts of color and are realized in geometric shapes as she attempts to bring nature down to earth and within our own realm of comprehension, while admitting us the her own sense of awe.