Adjei Tawiah & Aplerh-Doku Borlabi: Could you be loved

13 May - 8 Jul 2021
Overview

Gallery 1957 i s pleased to announce the opening of our third gallery space in Accra; located on the ground floor of the Galleria Mall, opposite the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel. For the i naugural exhibition, “Could You be Loved” we will be presenting new works by Ghanaian figurative painters Eric Adjei Tawiah and David Aplerh-Doku Borlabi.

Aplerh-Doku Borlabi was formally trained at Ghanatta College of Arts and Design, the alma mater of his mentor, acclaimed contemporary artist, Amaoko Boafo. Borlabi’s early works applied his foundational l earning in academic painting, creating naturalistic compositions, and for years he grappled with finding a visual language that felt authentic. After 7 years of painting, Borlabi turned to his natural environment to embody his own culture and ethnic i dentity. Growing up i n the CoCo Beach area of Accra, the coconut tree and fruit i s a part of the artist’s daily visual experience, and after spending a day sketching at the beach recently, the thought of using the coconut i n his work emerged. From a distance, the mixed media works of oil paint and coconut husk on canvas, appear as richly toned brown skin. The intrinsic properties of the coconut husk’s multiple layers, long hairs, and varying shades of brown whimsically renders skin texture and bone structure, while emulating the way natural light surfaces on skin.

With one medium, the artist was able to capture the physical color complexities of black people’s skin, and
visually narrate the physical organic connections of humanity, and plant life. Metaphorically, the coconut husks contemplate the tension between what is disregarded, discarded, and deemed ugly, and what i s natural, strong, complex, multidimensional, and beautiful. Echoing prideful statements, such a Black is Beautiful, Borlibi captures the joy of the human experience lived in Black people globally, Ghana, and the continent at large.

Eric Adjei Tawiah is a Ghanaian artist living and working in Accra. Using a technique, he calls ‘ sponge martial’ – an approach inspired by the experience of watching his mother’s body being cleansed in a mortuary and evoking a figurative cleansing of negative thought processes – he creates brightly colored yet delicately textured portraits across mixed media.

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Works