Sarah2022, 80 x 80 cm
Kwesi Botchway, born 1994 in Accra, Ghana. Lives and works in Accra, Ghana

Kwesi Botchway’s emotionally-charged paintings highlight the idea of beauty in relation to the Black experience. Color plays a significant role in his work, symobolically expressing the character, community, culture, and language of his subjects. In his signature, angular brushtrokes, he emphasizes their black skin with purple hues, a color linked to royalty, grandeur, mystery, magic, seduction, and wisdom.

While some of his subjects are inspired by real people, others are born from imagination. Also often informed by socio-political events around the world, the artist seeks to elevate the Black community, giving prominence to African culture in the history of art. His latest creations focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Botchway critiques the colonial history of portraiture, and the stereotypical depiction of the Black subject in scenes labor and slavery. He diverts by giving prominence, power, and individuality to his subjects, who take center stage. The artist takes stylistic notes from 19th century French impressionism and other modes of academic painting. Some of his works are reminiscent of classical paintings such as Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring. In Green Fluffy Coat (2020) the subject strikes a resmblant pose as Vermeer's masterpiece, though Botchway embellishes it in his own signature style. He plays with tropes of the European arts canon, reimagining existing art historical and political narratives.

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