Cornelius Annor Ghana, b. 1990

Working in the figurative and portrait tradition, Cornelius Annor (b. 1990) depicts familial scenes in intimate, domestic settings, offering glimpses of Ghanian life in states of gathering, repose, and leisure. Annor was born in Accra, Ghana and works out of this city that inflects his representations of family.
The scenes he depicts arise from recollections of his childhood as well as family photographs, rendering his work visual commentaries on memory and archives. These works are paens to the enduring power of memory, illustrating how remembrances of both special milestones (e.g., birthdays, baptisms, weddings) as well as ordinary moments linger on and inform the present. However, memory is an imprecise thing according to Cornelius’ art. These scenes are faded, blurry, figures incomplete, all marking the failure and instability of memory. It is in response to the precarity of memory that Annor turns to the archives. Photographs and archives hold a potent power to him, in their capacity to resurface and reanimate hidden, lost, or obscured memories. Painting becomes a way for him to stage a conversation between memory and the archives, each producing and changing the other. Yet his paintings are not faithful reproductions of memory nor photographs. Rather, Annor employs mixed-media and multiple methods to comment on the exchange between the past and present, tradition and modernity that saturates everyday life in Ghana. His paintings are meant to inspire time travel, whisking the viewer away from the the immediacy of the present to inhabit a memory from the past. For, while he depicts scenes from his personal life, Annor wants his work to tap into a universal quality that allows the viewer to see their family set within it. There is a warmth to the familial moments he represents which allows for such resonance across time and space, the way figures turn towards each other or touch in an easy familiarity that indexes the intimacy of kinship.
Annor uses fabric lavishly in his paintings to evoke the domesticity and texturedness of family. His use of traditional Ghanaian textiles adds rich detail to the paintings, conveying the sensory environment of the home. Using a unique fabric transfer style, which entails imposing fabric onto canvas for several hours, he executes faded patterns onto the backgrounds of his work, which invokes the layered quality of memory as well as its disintegration over time. These fabrics are often sourced from women in his family, such as his wife, mother, or aunts, which adds yet another dimension of intimacy to these works. This use of fabric and pattern is complemented by the liberal application of acrylics and detailed draughtsmanship.
Annor was born into a family of artists and was especially influenced by his sculptor father to begin painting at an early age. This early start led to an education in Fine Arts studies at Ghanatta College of Art and Design (Ghana). He has had solo exhibitions in Accra, New York (USA), and Knokke (Belgium). His work has also been exhibited as part of group shows in Ghana, South Africa, the Netherlands, USA, and Austria. Fairs such as Art Basel Miami and 1-54 London and New York have incorporated his paintings, which also reside in the collections of Buxton Contemporary in Australia, the Bunker Artspace and the Institute of Contemporary Art Museum in USA, and Espacio Tacuari in Argentina. Annor established the C.Annor studio in his hometown as a space dedicated to nurturing and supporting emerging artists.
Art Fairs