Amoako Boafo, Strawberries and pink shorts (detail), 2022. Courtesy Mariane Ibrahim
Mariane Ibrahim is delighted to present Inside Out, Amoako Boafo’s debut solo exhibition in Europe, on view from April 28 to June 4, 2022 in the Paris gallery.
In this exhibition, each portrait is a site of tender imaginings, Boafo seeks to animate his interior world by painting visual characters who translate his greatest aspirations of play, leisure, cool, and simply the right to be— to exist as one sees oneself or as one wishes to see oneself. His hands are his poetic device by quite literally feeling each painting as it is made. It is a deep sensory process that connects him to a canvas intimately. Every painting is touched by the artist and therein touches him.
Inside Out looms on the tail of a global pandemic that begged us to go inward and therein we have a renewed sense of what the youth in Ghana proudly claim “abonten” or outside. How do each of us choose to engage with the world at large differently and what moments did we take for granted with our surrounding environments?
Painting and tennis are two places where Boafo goes to hush his mind. Inside out is a multi-layered, polysemic term which best explains to be utterly transformed, to know something thoroughly or to play “inside out” on the court. Each of these interpretations require a different angle, approach, or way of seeing. It means to delve within and shift the viewers gaze or in the case of tennis, to take one’s opponent by surprise. What does the artist seek to be or create from the inside out?
The portrayal of the physical body is an expression of Boafo’s psyche, the movement by which he feels and honors his emotions. He sets the canvas as a stage for some of the most compelling people, friends, and even strangers who meet his eye. They are symbols of force and mystery yet to be explored. How we experience what is outside of us is a mirror of what we carry inside.
Turning away from being merely representative and more reflective of the subjects and their interior lives, Boafo collaborates with poet aja monet. Bespoke poems will accompany each work in the exhibition.