Amoako Boafo (b.1984 Accra, Ghana; based in Vienna, Austria and Accra, Ghana) has built a practice synthesizing the ways that art both reflects and perpetuates the power of representation. Exclusively portraying individuals from the Diaspora and beyond, Boafo invites a reflection on Black subjectivity, diversity and, complexity. His portraits are notable for their bold colors and patterns, which celebrate his subjects, as a means to challenge representation that objectifies and dehumanizes Blackness.
Able to capture critical subtleties and nuanced emotion in a manner that grabs and engages the viewer, it is however Boafo’s tenderness in how he renders his subjects that is the most striking quality of his work. His powerful, concise style expresses the vibrancy of daily life with an easy familiarity, touching on topics such as community, social and political struggles, and the intimacy between like-minded friends.
The artist counts a diverse range of references as his influences, including Egon Schiele, Kerry James Marshall, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Henry Taylor, and Kehinde Wiley. As Boafo has put it, "the primary idea of my practice is representation, documenting, celebrating and showing new ways to approach Blackness."
Boafo received his MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna in 2019 and had his first solo exhibition in the United States at Roberts Projects, entitled I See Me, which took place in January 2019. His paintings have recently joined the collection of Vienna’s Albertina Museum; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; LACMA, Los Angeles, CA; and the Rubell Museum, Miami, FL, among others.
He was the first artist-in-residence at the new Rubell Museum in Miami, FL, launched in 2019. The artist collaborated with Kim Jones, Dior Men's creative director, for Dior's Spring-Summer 2021 menswear season.