On display at the local contemporary art gallery ADA until June 16, the series, Cross Hatching Affluence, looks at the city’s modern dwellers as a reflection of these changes, offering a visual glimpse into the growing elite of middle and upper classes who have come to represent a growing share of Accra, as well as the population of Ghana and the African continent as a whole.
“Over the years, the influx of business and government investment in real estate, resort development, transport, communications, industrialization and education has resulted in a dramatic increase in urbanization. from most cities across the country, ”Nortey told Creative Boom. “Modern architectural designs and decor have enhanced the face of the city. This does not mean that there are no socio-economic challenges, but there has been drastic economic and social development in recent years. This development has brought about a tangible change, progress, in the way of life of the Ghanaian people – in particular, that of the middle and upper class elites. “
Interpreting the rich fabric of Accra’s cityscape, Nortey’s paintings depict urban scenes of sprawling buildings and pleasing interiors, and show a love of architecture as he focuses on the lines and compositions of his scenes. imagined.
Using a hatch drawing technique to add texture and dimension to each character’s skin, Nortey’s attention to detail is inspired by realism and Dutch post-impressionist Vincent van Gogh – turning can -being towards Starry Night’s rough brushstrokes, like his muse.
There is also an impressionistic color palette in play. From sienna brown to burnt orange, the crosshatch paints convey the tactile qualities of natural skin while making them lifelike and vivid, drawing us in with their alluring warmth.
“Weaving her figures in her dazzling cityscapes, Nortey invites her viewers to step into lush tales of glamor and success,” the gallery states. “By highlighting the physical landscape and material markers of evolving Ghanaian society, they become the basis of the artist’s visual storytelling, at the border between the physical, the real and the story and the larger narrative. , The fiction.”
The series offers, as Nortey puts it, a “new presentation of the ‘show of black wealth'”, and a “cross hatch of Ghanaian and African wealth”. It is as if his paintings seek to overturn these cliché and often ignorant prejudices on the African continent, “thereby claiming their ownership and affirming a sense of both pride and hope”.
Nortey adds, “It’s satisfying to know that through this body of work a different perspective on the lives of people in Africa, especially Ghana, is being told to the world; so that a global audience can see, albeit passing through my works, that the Africa that is shown is not the Africa that is known.
Cross Hatching Affluence by Hamid Nii Nortey will be on display at ADA contemporary art gallery until June 16, 2021, as part of an ongoing program of support for emerging artists. Follow more of the artist’s work on Instagram.