Friday 12 July, 2024

Africa’s Leading Visual Artist: Alfred Addo


For this stunning piece, Alfred used his recycling sculpting technique to carve the figures and glaze it in metallic gold and copper pigments. For the clothes of the ladies, he added a touch of bright metallic purple and orange. The final work has a metallic look and is mounted on a black background to make the gold finish stand out.
Alfred Addo is well known on the African continent and in his native Ghana for his explosive and dynamic artworks, which stunningly capture the spirit of the Ghanian people. With 21 years’ experience known for his unique Afrocentric sculpture artworks made out of recycled sawdust and his bold colorful mixed media paintings.
He is widely collected in South Africa, where he maintains his studio and has been commissioned by reputable bodies including the Reserve Bank of South Africa, South African Civil Aviation Authority, CSIR, Gauteg Planning and Economic Development Brand South Africa and many other corporate organizations.

What materials do you use in your pieces?

My father, who is also an artist, used to take me along to the sawmill to get wood for his work and there is where I discovered sawdust. I’m fascinated with this material and it is present in all of my works. Not only does sawdust connect me to my artistic past and my family, but it is also deeply connected to my mission of creating sustainable artworks.
The final look of my work has a metallic finish, which is a process of mixing treated sawdust and adhesives that I recycle also from waste packaging materials. I source the sawdust freely from the saw mills. Unlike many developed countries where sawdust is recycled, in Ghana it’s usually burned into the atmosphere or left around in dumps creating a lot of pollution to the local environment.
Therefore, not only does my artwork depict Ghana, it also incorporates sawdust created in Ghana by Ghanians.

African Artist Alfred Addo
Africa’s Leading Visual Artist.

Can you describe an important show where your works have been displayed?

My work Lullaby was presented by a delegation of the Ghana Mission to the UN led by Her Excellency Mrs. Martha Pobee, Ambassador of the Ghana Mission to the UN to the office of the President of the General Assembly. The Lullaby Piece is a sculpture of a mother playing the korah, a string  instrument for her baby to sleep symbolizes how women nurtures the next generation with love.

Have you had any solo shows?

I had a solo art exhibition at the American Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa. One of the officials saw samples of my work and was immediately impressed with them and organized a solo show. I exhibited many of my notable works including Dry Season, which is a relief sculpture piece depicting a nomadic man in seek of greener pastures, this was the centerpiece of my exhibition as I use it to capture the very common ambition typical to the youth of West Africa and many parts of the world.

Have you won any awards?

I was the Spotlight Artist Winner at the Santa Fe Spectrum Art Show. The jury for the show was the Red Media Group, a PR agency which  has won multiple international awards including the Gold SABRE Awards for Public relations Campaigns and the Young Lions Public relations competition for the next generation of creatives.
I submitted multiple artworks including Ballerina, one of my textured acrylic paintings. Though my core and specialty is Sculpture I also paint. In time I had accumulated a vast number of works with so much admiration from my collectors, that I started professionally exhibiting them. I use my recycle materials and and very fine sawdust  and resins to give it texture and bring the work to life. This piece is a depiction of a ballerina eagerly in a practice session.

Have you ever been selected to display your work at an art fair?

Yes, many art fairs. I have displayed my work at the Art Expo New York, which is the world’s largest fine art expo for 40+ years. I also have been invited to exhibit my works at The Harlem Fine Arts Show (HFAS), which is the largest traveling African Diasporic art show in the United States. Since its inception in 2009, HFAS has had over 80,000 visitors, traveled to more than 10 cities as well as showcased more than 100 artists and galleries.

Why are you considered one of Africa and Ghana’s leading visual artist?

I think I am considered at the top of my field, because of my strong storytelling abilities and my desire to tell that story beyond the borders of my country. I also have exhibited my work not only in prestigious government organizations such as The United Nations and the US Embassy, but also on behalf of multiple private entities all over Africa. My work is also extensively collected. I think all of that plus my unique storytelling expertise is what has made me stand out in my field.

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