IN/TO THE PUBLIC SPHERE
The Art of Max Boadi and Nana Ama Akainyah.
ARTcapital- ban2 Gallery, September 30- October 14,
This exhibition includes works by two young Ghanaian
artists at the ban2 Gallery; many of the works are
currently privately owned by various collectors.
This is only the second exhibition to be held by
ARTcapital GHANA- purveyors of fine contemporary
Years ago, when Ablade Glover claimed oil painting
as a veritable medium of expression for contemporary
African artists, a lot of ink was spilled, and many
hairs split, over the issue.
Now a young lion, Max Boadi, has picked up his
palette knife and is roaring!
The Art of Max
Boadi and Nana Ama Akainyah
Boadi lives and works in Accra- a cosmopolitan city,
a modern metropolis where the beaches are always
teeming with economic and recreational activities.
With the keenness of a fish-eagle, his paintings
document fishermen trading their catch, confident
women negotiating for wares and children playing on
He also goes indoors and provides haunting images of
preadolescent girls day dreaming or exchanging
secrets- and leaves us wondering what else they
could be up to!
His figures are purposeful, confident and engaged.
The totality of the individual compositions provide
for an air of expectation. The color scheme is
attention grabbing for both the seasoned collector
and occasional art viewer.
The subtle harmony of blues, yellows, red and mauves
which predominate in Boadi’s oils cannot be stripped
down to the essentials of line and color; there is
also an absolute lack of hesitation in his works.
Boadi’s art has the ability to attract an eclectic
audience, and it is easily accessible.
The work is fresh and the voice clear; the aesthetic
sense finely poised. There is no lack of emotional
honesty neither is there a tingling doubt, that for
once, the artist felt some profound emotion and was
not painting to please a patron - local or expat.
Nana Ama Akainyah’s paintings are compelling in
their technique and composition. She is not afraid
to experiment with color and symbols; as a geometric
abstractionist she is definitely not clichéd; she
serves up a potent postmodern Africanist narrative.
The collage of colors and or shapes in “Beads”,
“Reflections” and “Directions” is almost
encyclopedic. Her quest is to narrate the
complexities of modern identity, specifically
African identity, in the current epoch. Her
compositions struggle with much grace and fortitude
against the bounds of time and place.
Through this, she is able to offer a nuanced (and I
daresay more accurate) interpretation of the
vibrant, noisy, contentious, continually evolving
and chaotic space that constitutes a contemporary
African megapolis-like Accra - where she lives and
She goes even further and explores modern landscapes
ranging from the large cities of North America and
Europe to the African veldt and Guangzhou.
Akainyah’s art represents a unique and ever-changing
convergence of influences characterized by lush
metaphor, careful characterization and striking
Indeed, through her technique she is able to project
at one and the same time a proper balance between
control and freedom. Did someone say or think-
I am almost certain that in her paintings we can
discern elements of Bamana sand divination,
indigenous African architecture, Eulerian paths and
That Akainyah is able to pull all this off so early
in her career is an indication of the depth and
breadth of her Africanist knowledge, her talent and
I am certain that we will hear a lot more from and
about her in the not too distant future.
Both of these young artists- Boadi and Akainyah have
placed IN/TO THE PUBLIC SPHERE their current
formidable perspectives on our activities of daily
The arc of history is on their side.
We can only continue to cheerfully anticipate
further illuminating insights from both of them.
Nii Bonney Andrews,