Isshaq Ismail Ghanaian, b. 1989


Artist Statement


I am interested in breaking the mould of painting by subverting and interrogating the preconceived notion of the idea of beauty within the canon of painting, primarily figurative painting, and challenging the perception of aesthetics.

Desire, longing, wonderment, strength, resilience, power, Joy and hope can be seen in the face and figures of my work. I employ thick, loose, flat and cryptic gestural brushstrokes of Acrylic paint without inhibition, fear or conformity, like the way a sculptor sculpts human figures from clay, I sculpt my figures with the brush. I describe my vibrant, boldly coloured, thickly impastoed figuration as "Infantile semi-abstraction"

The images I create become metaphors of people's sentiments and also serve as protagonists to represent the masses and advocate for the voiceless. Not trash, but people. Not remnants, but lives - look closer and they will tell you their stories.


Isshaq Ismail is a multidisciplinary artist born in Accra Ghana in 1989. He attended Ghanatta College of Arts and Design, where he studied from 2009 to 2012. He began his first portraits when he was between 19 and 20 years old. The relationship to painting is experienced as something organic for the artist; a place of expression and a means of escaping loneliness, art gives him comfort and autonomy in the expression of himself. He has exhibited all over the world; USA, France, Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and his native country Ghana where he currently lives and works.