Annan Affotey Ghanaian, b. 1985


The portraits of Ghanaian artist Annan Affotey are bold portrayals of his subjects’ inner worlds—captured through their expressive eyes, accentuated forms, and rich colorings. His work is derived from a fascination with the unique narratives and experiences of his subjects—often family and friends, and, at times, himself. Yet they also take inspiration from public figures, celebrities and models who derive their power of expression from their body language. For Affotey, the movements of his subjects are key in uncovering and then relaying through his painting, their unique individuality, painted in his characteristically realistic style heightened through the use of electric hues against more seductive ombrés. As we stare into his sitter’s intense eyes, we feel suddenly vulnerable and yet connected to their personal history. It is a history we might never know nor completely understand but because of their intense stare we feel we do, even but momentarily, as we exchange a moment of empathetic union with a stranger in a painting.


Affotey began what he calls his “Ghannata Series” in 2020, and included many of the artists who attended the famed school - the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Accra. These include artists who’ve gone on to be extremely successful to those who are still struggling. What’s important, believes Affotey, is that “they are still painting.” Portraits of artists such as Kwesi Botchway, Amoako Boafo, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe and Serge Attukwei Clottey — recognizable to an international art audience are joined by those who are still yet to be discovered. Painted with Affotey’s lively palette and intricate attention to detail, many hold paint brushes in their hands, while others are identified by unique pieces of clothing or hairstyles—also identifying traits. Their titles all carry the artist’s name and the year that they graduated. Affotey has also included his own self-portrait that is entitled Yellow Flower and depicts himself with an unpainted hand carrying one lone yellow flower. He hopes that he along with other graduates can come together and find a way to bring back Ghanatta College.