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The Art of Max Boadi and Nana Ama Akainyah.
ARTcapital- ban2 Gallery, September 30- October 14, 2010

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 African Art.

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 the beach.

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 works.

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 paradox.

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- African fractals?

I am almost certain that in her paintings we can discern elements of Bamana sand divination, indigenous African architecture, Eulerian paths and Owari/Mancala stratagems.

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 promise.

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 living.

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,
Blebo We-Sakumo.



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