HowardScottGallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in New York of leading Ghanaian artist Atta Kwami. The exhibition is titled Harmonium. The reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, June 12, and the exhibition will continue through Saturday, July 12, 2008.
Atta Kwami was born in Accra, Ghana in 1956 and lives in the country's second city, Kumasi. He studied for his degree in painting at the College of Art, Kumasi. He was a former senior Lecturer in the Department of painting and sculpture at Kunst College of Art.
Kwami works in a number of visual arts disciplines, primarily painting and print-making, although he is also known for installation pieces, sculptures and as an exhibition curator. At the Kuona Trust Second International Artists Workshop at Lake Naivasha, Kenya in 1999, Kwami created a series of small color field-paintings, untitled abstract works of captivating beauty. Some works were later shown at the Beardsmore Gallery in London.
"To me small scale is not a limitation; it does not reduce the amount of energy that I can put onto a pictorial surface – rather, although I often work on large surfaces, I feel equally intimate with the small paintings. I find self-forgetfulness can be reached on a small scale just as effectively as on a larger one. It's possible to enter into any space within the scope of seeing and manipulation. Small images, when assembled together, can create surprising visual impact.
More than anything else, I feel my working aesthetic has been shaped by the rich visual culture of Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city where I have lived since 1986. The multitudes of sign painters, whose creative activities have transformed the visual character of the city, have engaged my attention. The diversity of painting in Kumasi also suggests a pluralist that does not make difference an issue."
Atta Kwami has a consistent track record of exhibitions around the world. He has been part of group shows of Ghanaian Contemporary Art in the USA, Switzerland, Copenhagen, Stockholm and participated in two Johannesburg Biennales. Solo exhibitions have been held regularly at the Beardsmore Gallery in London. He has also had notable individual exhibitions at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, WashingtonDC (1995), the National Museum of Ghana, Accra (1999) and Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2001). His work is held in several major public collections (including Victoria and AlbertMuseum, London, NationalMuseums of Ghana and Kenya, National Museum of African Art, Washington DC) and many private collections around the world.
Kwami will participate in The Poetics of Cloth: African Textiles / Recent Artat the Grey Gallery, New York University, September through December 2008. His work will also be part of the exhibition The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 2008 through March 2009.