Amoako Boafo's acclaimed practice centers around new approaches to represent and celebrate black culture through art. His paintings exude a contemplative awareness, elegance, and wit which dexterously capture the inherent character of his subjects. What sets his work apart is his unconventional technique of using his fingers, rather than brushes, to manipulate pigment on the canvas. This tactile approach allows him to create expressive and intimate portraits, depicting the ethos of his subjects through direct touch.
Born in Accra, Ghana, in 1984, Boafo has emerged as a key figure in redefining portraiture and shaping the contemporary African and African diaspora art scene. Boafo graduated from the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Accra, receiving recognition as the college's best portrait painter of the year in 2008. In 2013, Boafo made a career-defining move to Vienna, Austria, where he was confronted with the marginalization of Black individuals in European society. Inspired by the need for greater representation, he decided to focus on painting Black subjects, aiming to address the underrepresentation of Black people in the global contemporary art scene. Stylistically, Boafo draws inspiration from notable canonical Austrian artists such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, renowned for their expressionistic portraiture. Additionally, he finds inspiration in contemporary figurative peers like Jordan Casteel, Kerry James Marshall, and Kehinde Wiley, who also explore the power of portraiture and challenge existing narratives in their own inimitable styles.
Beyond his artwork, Boafo's contributions extend to co-founding WE DEY, a center in Vienna that promotes exhibitions, workshops, and community programs advocating for artists of color and LGBTQ+ voices.