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 studied at the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Accra, Ghana in 2007, before attending the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria for his MFA. Boafo was awarded with the jury prize, Walter Koschatzky Art Prize in 2017 and the STRABAG Art award International in 2019 both in Vienna, Austria. His first solo exhibition in the United States, entitled I See Me, opened at Roberts Projects in January 2019. Boafo was the first artist-in-residence at the new Rubell Museum in Miami, FL, which launched in 2019, organized through Roberts Projects. In 2020, the artist collaborated with Kim Jones, Dior Men’s creative director, for Dior’s Spring/Summer 2021 Men’s Collection. In 2021, Boafo was selected by the Uplift Art Program to create the inaugural “Suborbital Triptych” on the exterior panels of a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, to launch August 2021.
Extensively collected by prestigious private and public institutions, Boafo’s paintings have recently joined the collection of The Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Longlati Foundation, Shanghai, China; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; The Rubell Museum, Miami, FL; the Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL, Aishti Foundation, Antelias, Lebanon; the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; and The Albertina Museum Vienna, Austria, among others.