Amoako Boafo has developed a distinct style, using his fingertips to paint portraits of Black men and women who, he says, 'live their blackness'. His choice of bold colours and patterns celebrates his diaspora subjects.Read More
Following several years in Vienna, where the artist became quickly disillusioned with the city's art scene, which he felt was unreceptive to artists of colour, Boafo began making the seminal 'Black Diaspora' series (2017–ongoing). Pushing back against this challenging atmosphere and common stereotypes, the artist celebrates blackness by painting family, personal acquaintances, and celebrities.
In Amoako Boafo's interview with Culture Type in 2019, the artist explained, 'Most of the characters are people that share the same ideas as me. Others are also people that I find strength in—how they celebrate/live their blackness.' Figures ranging from Maya Angelou—depicted in Red Dress (2017)—to London DJ of Jamaican heritage Tonica Hunter, who has featured in several works, are presented against bright and polished backdrops in poses that project power and confidence.
His subjects are drawn from all walks of life and each figure is depicted in a layered and textured manner. The artist works blue, brown, and red oil paint with his fingers on the canvas, creating simplified forms that come close to abstraction. Boafo has been developing this definitive style, which the artist first entertained for a music video, since 2017.
In 2019, the emerging artist was selected to be the first artist-in-residence at the new Rubell Museum in Miami. Amoako Boafo's Rubell residency produced a series of monumental larger-than-life paintings. In these large-scale works, such as Hudson in a Baby Blue Suit (2019) and Self in Gucci Jacket (2019), the artist pays close attention to clothing and fabric, both for their patterns and textures and as signifiers of identity. Monochromatic and simple backgrounds contrast with the highly textured finger-painted figures and colourful patterned clothes.
Amoako Boafo's Art Basel Miami debut in the same year saw a sold-out booth with Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.
In 2021, Boafo was commissioned to paint a mural on three exterior panels belonging to Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket as part of the Uplift Art Program. Made with materials that would survive the journey into space and return to earth, the three paintings for 'Suborbital Triptych' included a self-portrait and portraits of his mother and his childhood friend Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe: Self Portrait with Pink Tulips (2021), White and Gold Head Wrap (2021), and Shormeh's Gold Earrings (2021).