On Oct. 8, Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo unveiled his traveling art exhibition at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). Soul of Black Folks gets its title from the 1903 book by Pan-Africanist W.E.B. DuBois
“It really only took us a few moments to make a decision,” museum director Christopher 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.”
The show features Boafo’s paintings from 2016 to 2022. Many of the works are self-painted with Boafo’s fingers.
Boafo “paints with tenderness and care…directly touching the canvas to render the likeness of his friends, acquaintances and those he admires from the broader, global black diaspora,” DAM curator Rory Padeken told The Denver Gazette.
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 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 will be at the Denver Museum of Art through Feb. 19.