Amoako Boafo
Slowing Down and Staying Focused

Devon Van Houten Maldonado , The Observer, September 22, 2020

Excerpt from The Observer:

"I love my paintings,” says Amoako Boafo, surrounded by his first solo show at Chicago’s Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, titled “I Stand By Me.” He’s reflecting, in his quiet way, about comments he received as a grad student in Vienna that his figures were “too black.” Luckily the Ghana-born, Vienna-based Boafo didn’t listen and arrived at where he is today, fresh off a collaboration with Dior, with skyrocketing auction prices and at least one major museum acquisition

 

But Boafo appears fairly unfazed by the sudden meteoric rise. With or without all the attention, he would still be in the studio, using his fingers to create skin like no other, full of movement and emotion. It’s the “magic,” as he calls it, that the artist makes with finger painting that sets him apart. According to his gallerist Ibrahim, his paintings represent a leap forward in portraiture. “He completely changed and innovated—texturized—the way portraiture is done,” she says. In Boafo’s paintings of Black subjects, the skin is full of energy and alludes to more than blackness, perhaps what’s under the skin, as opposed to creating perfectly illustrative figures with paintbrush, shadow and highlights. It’s this that made him appealing to collectors early on, says the gallerist. Ibrahim, who recently relocated to Chicago from Seattle, specializes in representing artists from the African diaspora.

 

Boafo can’t reveal what he’s working on after that, but judging by the excitement radiating from both the artist and his dealer, it’s something big. Ibrahim keeps the lid on any juicy details, ever caring and mindful of her artist’s wellbeing and delicate success. Whatever comes out of this star’s studio next is sure to be a sensation.