Amoako Boafo's gestural portraits exude strength in times of crisis

Pei-Ru Keh, Wallpaper*, September 17, 2020

"In a new show at Mariane Ibrahim, Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo explores self-reflection, self-celebration and seeks to challenge existing beliefs about Black identity.

 

With museums, art galleries and institutions across the United States bubbling back to life this month, few shows will strike a more profound note than the first solo show of the Ghanaian painter Amoako Boafo. ‘I Stand By Me’, which opened this week at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery in Chicago, is staged in person and allows a maximum of five visitors into the gallery at a time. The exhibition of Boafo’s gloriously textured, large-scale portraits of stylish Black men and women is a succinct representation of the zeitgeist, in more ways than one.

 

In the last year, Boafo, who lives in Vienna but has spent most of this year in his hometown of Accra, has found a place in the canon of contemporary Black artists who are experiencing rising success. Most recently, he achieved prominence through his collaboration with Dior men’s artistic director Kim Jones for the label’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection that saw Boafo’s colour combinations, graphic prints and patterns and brushstrokes replicated as embroideries, knitwear and even figurative reproductions.

 

Boafo’s elegant deployment of colour, pattern and articulate manipulations of paint using his fingers give his subjects an invigorating, modern energy, while nodding to classical portraiture and expressionism..."

 

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