“I want to paint people who have the same experiences as me. I want to see myself and have people see themselves in me.”
Amoako Boafo (b. 1984, Ghana) is acclaimed for his emotive textured portraits of Black individuals from the diaspora in which he renders the skin and flesh with his fingers. The artist’s portraits are characterized by a personalized treatment of the sitter and primarily feature a monochrome background with an emphasis on the individual’s colorful clothes and their gaze, resulting in a strong sense of their subjectivity. Boafo went to the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Accra moving to Vienna and attending the Academy of Fine Arts there. Inspired by the work of Viennese painters Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, it was then that he created his signature method of painting skin with his fingers alongside his technically precise brushwork. Upon being discovered by fellow artist Kehinde Wiley, who connected Boafo to gallerists, he experienced a meteoric rise in the international art world. His portraits, a uniquely nuanced celebration of Blackness and Black joy, invite any individual who has experienced “othering” to find respite. His work is included in such lauded institutions as the Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Bass Museum, among others.