HAPPENINGText: Saya Regalado

Ghanaian painter Amoako Boafo to showcase first solo exhibition At MoAD (Museum of the African Diaspora). Smithsonian affiliate MoAD have reopened October 21st after the fine art space experienced over a year of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With new renovations and art exhibitions, the downtown San Francisco museum will be including five new showcases by global Black artists, including Amoako Boafo.

Amoako Boafo, Black and White, 2018. Oil on Paper. Courtesy of the artist, Private Collection and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles

MoAD, a contemporary art museum, celebrates Black cultures, ignites challenging conversations, and inspires learning through the global lens of the African Diaspora. Their focus spans the African Diaspora across history, from the diaspora at the origin of human existence through the contemporary African Diaspora that has affected communities and cultures around the world.

Amoako Boafo, Green-Clutch, 2021, Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim

Amoako Boafo isn’t painting for the market. But the market has certainly been buying. Now San Franciscans have the opportunity to see what all the buzz is about in “Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks.” The two-room show at the MoAD, on exhibit through February 27th, 2022, features 18 oil portraits produced between 2018-2021 since Boafo began his signature finger-painting technique. It’s an opportunity to get up close to art history in the making.

Amoako Boafo, Bella Sontez, 2019. Oil on paper; Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles

Soul of Black Folks is a timely exploration into the varying strategies that Boafo employs within his practice to capture the essence of the Black figure. Variables such as COVID-19, the constant resistance against systemic oppression, and the commodification of Black bodies in the media are some of the issues that heighten this exhibition’s urgency. These concerns invite the questions – where can Black people find a respite from society’s ills? Furthermore, how can Boafo’s work inspire and teach us about Black life and humanity?

Amoako Boafo creates paintings that actively center Black subjectivity, Black joy, and the Black gaze. Anchored by extremely calculated brushwork combined with skillfully executed finger-painted strokes, his mark-making generates a rich visual dichotomy that produces an evocative tension between the foreground and background. Moreover, this spatial tension yields both inward and outward-looking explorations of Boafo’s subjects and the act of painting Black figures themselves.

Amoako Boafo “Soul of Black Folks”
Date: October 21st, 2021 – February 27th, 2022
Open: 11:00 – 18:00 (Closed on Monday and Tuesday)
Place: Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
Address: 685 Mission St (at 3rd), San Francisco, CA 94105
Tel: +1 415 358 7200

Text: Saya Regalado
Photos: Courtesy of Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) © Amoako Boafo

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