Ghanaian artist Kwesi Botchway has once again blown the minds of the art world in Brussels a city in Belgium with his captivating portrait paintings.
Kwesi the contemporary impressionist, as he likes to describe himself, dubbed this art exhibition RUMORS OF BLACKNESS and was held at Maruani Mercier Gallery
Kwesi said he had observed that over the years when black figures were depicted, they were either servants or enslaved.
“In art history, the black man was almost never visible, and this did not feel right as black artist who celebrates my “blackness” so I had to change the status quo” he said in an interview with Ghanaian art writer Pep Junia.
In this show - Rumors of Blackness - these are portraits of girls and women. Models from his environment, fictional models or models inspired by photos from magazines. He says he chose the genre because he loves it. That may be so, but there are more reasons why he prefers the portrait. In art history, the black person is hardly visible. When black figures are depicted, they are usually servants or enslaved. They are not in the foreground but are partly hidden behind white men and women. If they are there, then they are of minimal importance. With his portraits, he corrects the colonial history of the genre. He brings the past to the future. He makes it easy for black people to identify with his work. He implicitly urges museums and other art institutes to adapt their white collections. As one American critic put it succinctly: Representation matters.
Born in Nima in the 1990s, Kwesi is the founder of WorldFaze Art Studio an artist studio and residency space focusing on supporting young artists locally.