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Isshaq Ismail

Accra, Ghana 1989


Born in 1989 in Accra, Ghana, Isshaq Ismail graduated from the Ghanatta College of Arts and Design in 2012. He is known for bold, colorful paintings that explore how the social, cultural, and political attitudes and conditions of contemporary life impact identity. In a style that he describes as “infantile semi-abstraction,” Ismail paints grotesquely accentuated portraits through thick layers of paint. The artist has described his process in sculptural terms, using his brush to manipulate paint in the same way a sculptor might shape clay. Through these striking and evocative works, the artist explores how aspects of the modern world affect identity, and in his own words, “represent the masses and advocate for the voiceless.”

Ismail has exhibited in institutions and galleries in his native Ghana and internationally in New York, Miami, London, Dubai, and Cape Town, among other major cities. In 2015 and 2016, Ismail was shortlisted for the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art, and in 2016, was honored as one of the Top 100 finalists at the Barclays L’Artelier Art Competition in Johannesburg. In 2019, he was shortlisted for the GUBA USA Influential Artist Award. Ismail currently lives and works in Accra, Ghana.

For more information on Isshaq Ismail and his work contact us.

Isshaq Ismail’s Nonchalant 5 courtesy of the artist.
Profile photo Courtesy of Sotheby’s.