Sunday 20 July 2014

Owusu-Ankomah returns with MICROCRON Begins

By Tajudeen Sowole

Bremen, Germany-based Ghanaian artist, Owusu-Ankomah will be back at October Gallery, London U.K for his second solo exhibition titled Microcron Begins, showing from
September 18 to October 25, 2014. 

Owusu-Ankomah, Microcron Begins No. 16, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 180 x 280 cm. Photo copyright, Joachim Fliegner. Courtesy October Gallery.

In 2011, the painter showed Microcron-Kusum
Alana Pryce Tojcic, of the Press and Media at October Gallery, states that the artist works in a new palette of colours, with the large-scale paintings reflecting his “fascination with the Adinkra symbols of Ghanaian culture and depiction of monumental human forms.” 

 Tojcic notes how the themes dwell on a world of secret signs and hidden meanings. Owusu-Ankomah, she arguesexplores the coexistence of multi-dimensional universes within a single multiverse.”


Born in Sekondi, Ghana, in 1956, Owusu-Ankomah studied Fine Arts at Ghanatta College in Accra before moving to Bremen, Germany where he currently lives and works.

October gallery notes that his work of charged paintings on canvas depict an alternate world wherein monumental human figures – his core motif – are shown moving within an ocean of signs that surround, support and, in fact, define them. “The way in which these figures coexist and interact with various symbolic sets has developed through distinct phases over time, reflecting Owusu-Ankomah’s own journey of spiritual discovery. His early work drew heavily on the ancient traditions of African rock-painting and masquerade, before his figures shed their masks and body paintings to become unashamedly visible. Finally, naked and powerful, these eloquent actors became covered in scripts of complex symbols that, in a studied trompe l’oeil effect, camouflage their finely sculpted bodies against alternating backgrounds of relevant and significant signs.”

The gallery adds that his palette of new colours, further develops the possibilities,” stressing “visual signs of his own invention to the customary lexicon of adinkra symbols which each represent a particular concept used by the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana. In the same Akan language kusum refers to sacred sites involved in the secret performances of mystery rites.”

The statement also notes how Owusu-Ankomah extends his visual explorations in novel directions by developing innovative symbols, such as the Microcron – the circle of shining orbs signifying ‘universes inside universes,’ which so entrances the figure in the image above. “This unique symbolic logic yokes together ancient traditions of secret knowledge with current speculation about the mysterious nature of reality derived from theoretical physics, which predicts the parallel coexistence of multi-dimensional universes within a single multiverse.”

The gallery describes his styles and techniques as some mysteries embedded in the symbolic web of messages– both secret and exoteric – which beguile the inhabitants of these marvellously painted worlds. “The same iconic glyphs encapsulate, for those who strive to decipher their concealed meanings further, Owusu-Ankomah’s musings on the wonders of this mysterious world replete with secret signs and alive with hidden meanings.”

The exhibition includes Artist’s Talk: Owusu-Ankomah
Scheduled for Saturday, September 20 2014. During the event, the artist will talk about his creative process and his new works on canvas.
 From his first solo at the gallery, some of the works such as Microcron-Kusum (No 2) and Thinking the Microcron (acrylic on canvas, 2011), the motifs or symbols seem to cut across cultures, particularly of African origin.
  He states “You see, the point in my work is not the familiarisition with any particular culture on any continent, but as you say, cutting across cultures, bringing together symbols of the world to create a potent universal language. My work is about creating one world language, one voice in unison.”

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