On Oct. 8, Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo unveiled his traveling art exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. Titled Soul of Black Folks, its title is drawn from the 1903 book by Pan-Africanist W.E.B. DuBois with the same name.
The exhibition made its way to the Denver Art Museum after catching the eye of Christoph Heinrich, the institute’s director. “It really only took us a few moments to make a decision,” Heinrich told the Denver Gazette. “This is a show we really want to show; he’s truly one of these cosmopolitan, emerging artists with very deep roots in his country of origin, Ghana.”
Boafo was raised in Accra, Ghana, where DuBois’ resting place is located. According to the Seattle Museum of Art, Boafo’s proximity to the sociologist heavily inspired his work, particularly DuBois’ idea of “double consciousness,” which describes Black people’s struggle to maintain their cultural identity while still assimilating with white society. Using bright colors and textured finger painting, Boafo’s display offers an intimate and colorful representation of Black life.
Though the talented artist has received international acclaim for his artwork, Soul of Black Folks is his debut solo museum exhibition, which he created during the COVID-19 pandemic. His work challenges the modern commodification of Black people and their continued oppression.
The art exhibition was developed in partnership with Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco and curated by Ghanaian-American cultural critic Larry Ossei-Mensah, who called the work “intimate” and “tender” at the Denver grand opening, captured by CBS News.
The Soul of Black Folks exhibition features 30 works created between 2016 and 2022, each centering on Black joy and the Black gaze. The showcase will be available at the Denver Museum of Art through Feb. 19.
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