Owusu-Ankomah (Ghanaian, born 1956) Movement No. 43 (The Wrestle)

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Lot 89
Owusu-Ankomah
(Ghanaian, born 1956)
Movement No. 43 (The Wrestle)
£ 25,000 - 35,000
US$ 33,000 - 46,000

Lot Details
Owusu-Ankomah (Ghanaian, born 1956)
Movement No. 43 (The Wrestle)
bears title (verso)
acrylic on canvas
190 x 250cm (74 13/16 x 98 7/16in).

Footnotes

  • Owusu-Ankomah’s canvases employ geographically and historically diverse visual references, from Saharan rock painting and Italian Renaissance sculpture, to Ghanaian textile designs, Chinese calligraphy, New York graffiti and capoeira martial arts from Brazil. Specially commissioned by the October Gallery to create new works to commemorate the 2007 bicentenary of the British parliamentary abolition of the slave trade, Owusu-Ankomah calls in his latest pieces for a freedom not only of the body, but of the spirit. Paying tribute to those who have historically struggled for emancipation and consciousness in the African diaspora, he declares through his work a manifesto of love and understanding to fill the space between past and future.

    A recurring theme in his large bold canvases is the adinkra system of signs originating from the Akan pre-colonial cloth printing tradition. Each sign relates to a particular proverb or saying, and Ankomah weaves these layers of meaning into his works like poetry, juxtaposing each sign with the next to create a graphic whole. A recurring motif is Sankofa, one of the best known adinkra signs, which literally translates as “go back and pick up what you left behind”. Often pictured as a bird that flies or walks forward with its head facing backwards, the Sankofa proverb dictates that in order to understand where we are now and move on, we must first understand our history. The symbol has long held resonance for liberation and independence movements across Africa and its diasporas, and as the UK turns to reflect on its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Owusu-Ankomah uses it as a reminder that one must ”remember the past in order to live consciously in the present, and have ambition for a positive future”.

    Owusu-Ankomah studied at Ghanatta College of Art in Kumasi, Ghana, before moving to Bremen, Germany in 1986, where he still lives and works. His paintings have been exhibited internationally, touring Germany, the US, the UK, Senegal, South Africa and Cuba. In 2006, he was invited to create a work for the World Cup FIFA Art Edition Project, and he has since been collaborating with designer Giorgio Armani to develop a line of clothing for the Red Campaign, raising funds for the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.

    We are most grateful to the October Gallery for their assistance in the preparation of this catalogue entry
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