STATEMENT

I grew up in the postcolonial twin city of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, which is marked with historical sites tracing the memory of imperialism. My presence and engagement with these residues of imperialism became the formative influence in how I understood and related with my environment. Out of my family home, I am known as Nzema, which is the ethnic group to which I belong. When I am located outside Ghana and in another African country, I am known as a Ghanaian. When placed outside Africa, in the United States, I am known as an African. This is how my identity connects to space and place be it local or foreign. I investigate the various complexities that compose the modern history of social evolution as a continuous process influenced by political, social, historical and immediate cultural expression. It is an attempt to unravel and merge these layers as a way of initiating a conversation around the expanded notion of cultural hybridity. One that merges histories and experiences and evolves a unique third personality or character. 

 

My paintings function as a form of cultural archeology, wherein I seek to excavate the layers of history that have been deposited over time. This is evident in the processes of layering, cutting and erasure. Through these I attain intricate in-between spaces, this becomes a way to develop understanding from the exterior issues to deeper truths which are hidden and shielded from view. A systematic buildup of true or false cores within which the hybrid becomes its author. This results in a painting this is characterized by a visual topography, commanding the experience and engagement of the viewer. I employ a juxtaposition of the traditional Western style of painting with African print fabrics as a metaphor to engage the dialogue of cultural hybrid and to compose an imagery that references the merging point of both cultures and further question what is true or false within the contemporary Ghanaian cultural third space.