Artist's Portrait... A meeting with the second highest ranking African artist, Amoako Boafo

Amoako Boafo sur Kelen, African Art event manager

Amoako Boafo is a Ghanaian artist. Based in Vienna, this rising star of contemporary painting has become in six months an important artist on the art scene. In December 2020, he landed a bid of over $ 1 million at the largest auction house, Christie's. He is now the second most highly rated African, closely following his elder and compatriot El Anatsui.

A swift journey

It was the Chicago-based gallery owner Mariane Ibrahim who spotted Amoaka's paintings on Instagram. She bought one of his works and offered to represent him. "His work was not immediately accepted because it broke the visual codes of African-American artists."

A year later, at the Art Basel Miami Beach fair which attracts great art lovers, his solo show was a great success and his paintings were sold like hot cakes, with prices stagging around $ 50,000.

An inspiration for the Haute Couture House Dior

During the presentation of its spring-summer 2021 collection, the luxury house created a sensation by collaborating with artist Amoako Boafo. Its artistic director, Kim Jones, has been living for many years in Africa where his father did research on groundwater in Ethiopia, Kenya, Botswana and Ghana.

For his collection, he was inspired by the works of Amoaka. Shirt with an ivy print, bright yellow belt, white safari shorts and a sweater featuring an embroidered man: the prints, colors, textures and even looks from Boafo's portraits were used in Jones' summer collection.

DIOR - Men's Collection Spring/Summer 2021

“Black identity” at the heart of his work

The Ghanaian artist explores the perception of black identity. His most famous series "Black Diaspora" celebrates black identity and represents men and women from the diaspora or the continent.

Like other artists, he wishes to break the codes of co-western art. He wants to give back to black people their dignity and make them more visible. He aims to revolutionize portraiture and, in his words, to "decode the nuances of skin color".

He paints stylish silhouettes on large colored surfaces. His technique is atypical. He uses brushes to brush backgrounds and clothes but he paints faces with his fingers, in shades of brown, ocher, cerulean blue, moss green and saffron yellow.

“It allows me to get an intensity and an energy that I wouldn't have with a brush,” he explained before adding mockingly, “It's ironic, isn't it? You are taught to use brushes and instead, I go back to the roots of painting as practiced by the first humans. " (Source Le Monde)

His models are family members or people he admires, people who have meant something to the African community.

His past still very present...

He does not allow himself to be overtaken by his meteoric rise and remains vigilant about the appetites of speculators.

Only 10 years ago he was working for a funeral company in Accra and sold his paintings for $ 100. Painting was a way of escaping poverty. Against his parents' wishes, he studied arts in Accra before continuing his studies in Vienna in 2014.

Today, Amoako Boafo wants his fame to benefit his African peers. In 2021, he will open an artists' residence in Accra designed by Ghanaian star architect David Adjaye. He sees this place as an opposite to the market, "which is nothing but noise", a haven "where artists can work with people who are like them". He added: "I want the younger generation to have other choices than to leave the continent for professional opportunities, to understand that you must not lose confidence and always stay focused on your job. "

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Artistically yours,


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