Amoako Boafa: Soul of Black Folks

5/27/2022, 1:02 p.m.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) is excited to announce Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks, the debut museum solo exhibition ...

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) is excited to announce Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks, the debut museum solo exhibition for Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo (b. 1984), one of the most influential artistic voices of his generation. Working primarily in figuration, Boafo is known for his vibrant use of color and thick improvisational gestures, created by his finger-painting technique emphasizing the contours and luminous skin tone of the body of his subjects. The show presents over thirty works created between 2016–2022, including a site-specific wall painting made specifically for CAMH. The subjects featured in Boafo’s paintings represent the nuance and complexities of Black life globally. Boafo creates images that actively center Black subjectivity, Black joy, the Black gaze, and radical care as a foundational framework for his artistic practice. Conditions such as COVID-19, the constant resistance against systemic oppression, the active combatting of Anti-Black rhetoric, and the commodification of Black bodies in the media are some of the concerns that heighten this exhibition’s urgency and relevance. The exhibition will be on view in CAMH’s Brown Foundation Gallery from May 27–October 2, 2022.

“Soul of Black Folks is my museum debut; therefore I am intimately invested in each stage of the exhibition’s journey,” says artist Amaoko Boafo King. “I’m really excited for its next stop in Houston at CAMH in May. Here, Seye, 2019 the show will continue to communicate to the museum’s audience as it did in San Francisco. However, at CAMH it will grow in scope. I’m excited to em- bark on a site-specific mural at CAMH for the second stop for Soul of Black Folks.”

“CAMH is incredibly excited to co-present with MoAD the debut mu- seum solo exhibition of such immense talent,” says Hesse McGraw, Executive Director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. “Boafo’s portraits are vital and urgent celebrations of Black joy, with unique tactile painting methods that go beyond representation to add life to each of his subjects.”

“I’m honored to have the op- portunity to present Soul of Black Folks in collaboration with Amoako Boafo at CAMH in Houston,” says Curator Larry Ossei-Mensah. “This seminal exhibition is an opportune moment for attendees to gain a deeper under- standing of Boafo’s artistic practice and explore why his works are more than just paintings. The exhibition is an evocative visual articulation of the dignity and importance of Black people

Black and White, 2018 to our society.”

Centering Boafo’s interrogation of self, Soul of Black Folks opens with his self-portraits. This series of paint- ings was created privately as a cathartic exercise while the artist was living in Vienna, Austria, experiencing racism and a lack of support for his practice. By starting with himself as his primary subject, Boafo emerged confident in his practice, resulting in his yearning to create portraits of others—friends, celebrities, and family which he has become known for over the past half a decade.

Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks is organized and presented in partnership by the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

The exhibition is curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah.