Kojo Marfo: Dreaming of Identity

10 June - 17 July 2021
  • Born in Ghana, Marfo developed his interest in art and visual culture through the traditional Akan artifacts, sculptures and carvings...

    Kojo Marfo at his studio in London

    Born in Ghana, Marfo developed his interest in art and visual culture through the traditional Akan artifacts, sculptures and carvings that he was exposed to as a child. Akan art remains a vital influence for Marfo in his work today. The distinctive figures in his paintings are inspired by the forms of Akan fertility dolls as well as other African carvings. In addition, his work contains strong visual references to his Ghanaian childhood. The country’s flowers, textiles and colours, he says, flood his memory on a daily basis.

  • "Dreaming of Identity" presents fifteen new paintings created in the past year. A series of nine portraits entitled ‘Strangers’ is based on casual encounters with Londoners, and six large-scale figurative paintings that depict families, animals and social gatherings, inspired by people he has met. Through these works, the exhibition unveils Marfo’s rich observations on the different people and cultures he has encountered. For example, startling works such as 'Dowager' depict the social stigma attached to single parenting, and 'Noble' presents Kojo's observations on the huge importance of cows in society – in the areas of diet, family life, livelihood, economy, impact on sustainability, social status as well as their ritual significance – on a cross-cultural basis.

     

    For Marfo, art is not simply a creative outlet, it acts as a vehicle to inspire connection between different cultures and societies. He says that his work aims to highlight social issues, such as inequalities, religion, politics, and spiritualism. “I want my artwork to create a connection with people, to be a symbol for everyone to relate to. No matter what you are going through, or where you live, I want my art to help people think and reflect on their inner lives and how it relates to the wider world.”

  • List of works
    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #1, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #1, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #2, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #2, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #3, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #3, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #4, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #4, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #5, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #5, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #6, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #6, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #7, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #7, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #8, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #8, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Stranger #9, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Stranger #9, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Pillar of Hope, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Pillar of Hope, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Noble, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Noble, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Majestic Disorder, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Majestic Disorder, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Lotus, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Lotus, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Dowager, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Dowager, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, Choir, 2021
      Kojo Marfo, Choir, 2021
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    • Kojo Marfo, The Majestic Empress, 2020
      Kojo Marfo, The Majestic Empress, 2020
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