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Published in companion with the exhibition, Gideon Appah: Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes. Exhibition curated by Amber Esseiva. Edited by Amber Esseiva. Published by the Institute for Contemporary Art. Photography by David Hale.
Gideon Appah's evocative paintings and drawings pull from experiences of intimacy and leisure that speak to recollection, history, and mythology. His flattened, jewel-like compositions are centered around stylish figures, both known and imagined; luscious landscapes; prevalent architecture; African folklore; and daily rituals from his childhood. These sumptuous scenes are often informed by post-independent Ghana, most readily sourced from film stills, newspaper clippings, journals, and family photographs created in the 1960s through the 1980s. One of the leading painters of his generation, Appah creates contemporary cosmopolitan worlds with a dreamlike, fauvist application to respond directly to his own familial stories and a country's history.
Born in Ghana in 1987, Appah lives and works in Accra. His most recent solo show, Blue Boys Blues, was on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York in 2020. His works have also been exhibited internationally, including at Casa Barragan, Mexico City; Ghana Science Museum, Accra; Goethe Institute, Accra; KNUST Museum, Kumasi; and Nubuke Foundation, Accra. His work is included in the collections of the Absa Museum, Johannesburg; Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakesh; and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, as well as in private collections. He was shortlisted for the 2016 Kuenyehia Art Prize and 2022 Henrike Grohs Art Award.