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Focus On: Amoako Boafo

Miami— November 3, 2020— Over the past year and a half, Amoako Boafo has experienced a meteoric rise in the art world, becoming highly sought after in a market showing overdue attention to Black artists. In 2020 only, the Ghana-born, Vienna-based artist has had skyrocketing auction prices, particularly after a major collaboration with Dior and major museum acquisitions that has created sustainable growth for an artist on fire in a fast-moving art market.

Boafo is known for his large-scale portraits of Black subjects rendered in bold, gestural strokes. Beguiling in their simplicity, Boafo’s portrait paintings often present isolated figures on spare or monochrome backgrounds, gazing out matter-of-factly, confidently asserting their presence. The subjects’ poses are relaxed, sometimes playful, imbuing the images with a casual intimacy.

Using his fingers to paint his subjects’ bodies, brushes for their clothes, and, for the background, Boafo has diverged from the academic traditions he learned at the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Accra and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. The most well known of his series, the Black Diaspora portraits, serve as a means of celebration of his identity and Blackness, inserting friends and admirable members of the African diaspora into traditions of European portraiture, with a distinctive, contemporary style of his own.

Boafo emphasizes this: “The primary idea of my practice is representation, documenting, celebrating and showing new ways to approach Blackness.” In his 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.

Boafo studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. In 2017 he was awarded the jury prize, Walter Koschatzky Art Prize. Widely collected by private and public collectors and institutions, most recently by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, CCS Bard College Hessel Museum of Art, The Albertina Museum Vienna, and the Rubell Museum. He is currently working to start an artist residency in Accra, Ghana using his newfound resources to support the local arts community in his hometown.

To know more about Amoako Boafo and available works, please contact us by clicking here.

Photograph by Chris Cunningham. Courtesy of Dior.