Memoirs Through Pokua’s Window
Memoirs through Pokua's Window is a new series of works by Gideon Appah in response to his upbringing within an extended Ghanaian family. He recalls his grandparents, aunts, and uncles who are characterized by strong family bonds, religious activities, and folklore.
Through nostalgic blues, verdant green landscapes, and thick charcoal lines, his monochromatic compositions dreamily depict domestic interiors and landscapes shaped by memories of an upbringing intercepted with rivers, plains, trees, plants, and tiles.
Appah’s main inspiration is sourced from his old family album, which includes photographs of familiar and unfamiliar faces; he attempts to recreate the living experiences of a typical Ghanaian home setting in the 80’s and 90’s.
In a meditative state, Appah paints and superimposes domestic objects such as pots, stools, lamps, windows, burglar proofs, album photographs, and masks into the painting’s background. The uncertainty of these forms alludes to the inconsistency of recollection, while the juxtaposition of their vibrant cool and warm tones—blue, green, orange, and red—are redolent of the contrast between homes’ interior rooms and exterior porches.
A continual motif in Gideon’s work are ‘rivers’, which highlight his preoccupation with remembering memory and its subconscious movements; with transitions and nature. He creates them through a thick and rough application of acrylics, posters, prints, and photographs, swirling across the paintings in transient, fluid motion merging beyond the canvas.
Within the background of his mixed media paintings, Appah calls attention to his family’s occupations, from hairdressers to seamstresses. Not only do Appah’s paintings probe his own subconscious, his memories and dreams, to depict the spaces of his childhood, but his work as a whole serves as an archive of communal life in Accra, Ghana.
Gideon Appah was born in Accra, Ghana in 1987. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana in 2012. Gideon has held exhibitions in Ghana including his first solo exhibition dubbed 'sensation' at the Goethe Institute in Accra and an End of Year Exhibition at the K.N.U.S.T Museum.
In 2015, he was chosen as one of the top ten finalists in Ghana for the Kuenyehia Art Prize for Contemporary Ghanaian Arts. That same year he became the first international artist to win the 1stMerit Prize Award at the Barclays L’Atelier Art Competition, which was held in Johannesburg. This won him a 3-month artist residency at the Bag Factory Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa in the year 2016 and a solo show at the Absa Gallery in 2017.