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Amoako Boafo | Soul of Black Folks

Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks is the debut museum solo exhibition tour for Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo (born 1984). One of the most acclaimed artists of his generation, Boafo’s works focus the viewers’ gaze on his subjects’ presence through his portraits representing Black life.

More than 30 works created between 2016 and 2022 are featured in Amoako Boafo, displaying Boafo’s vibrant use of color and thick gestures shaped by improvisational techniques such as finger-painting. His works actively center Black subjectivity, Black joy, and the Black gaze as the foundation of his inspiration and artistic practice.

The exhibition’s title was inspired by civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist W.E.B. Du Bois and his study, The Souls of Black Folk, published in 1903. Boafo grew up near the burial site of Du Bois in Accra, Ghana, and was affected by his research, especially his coining of the phrase "double consciousness," meaning the experience of Black people simultaneously having to look at themselves through their own and through white people’s points of view. Boafo’s artworks serve as an invitation to think about and challenge the "othered" perspective concerning Black people and the Black figure.

Photo: Installation view, Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks, Denver Art Museum. Courtesy Denver Art Museum, photo by Christina Jackson.