DIPO

Kwadwo Amfo is a Ghanaian artist who recently graduated from the Royal Academy of the Arts in the Hague. He participated in the Best of Graduates 2022 exhibition and is the recipient of the RM Photo Talent Award of 2022. His exhibition DIPO is about a puberty rite performed by the Shai and the Krobo people of southeastern Ghana.

Dede-Enyo, 2015 | Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper, mount on Dibond | 101 x 126 cm (framed)

Available

Rite of Dipo

Dipo is a rite that transitions a female from Childhood into Womanhood. In both the Shai and Krobo communities going through the Dipo rite is a prerequisite in becoming a woman who is capable of fully participating in the community, being a wife and having a family. In Ancient times those who did not do it or got pregnant before the Dipo rite was done were considered outcasts – some banished from the community.

Nudity and modesty

The Dipo girls are dressed in beautiful clothes from waist to knee level. The upper part of the body is exposed and decorated with markings and colourful assortments beads which the Krobo people are renowned for. During the rituals, the Dipo girls appear bare breasted. This can be juxtaposed against the widely held views in contemporary Ghana that nudity is ‘indecent’ and ‘improper’.

The pieces in this exhibition explore the tension between nudity, sexuality and Ghanaian sense of modesty.

Namo, 2015 | Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper, mount on Dibond | 126 x 101 cm (framed)

Mamle, 2015 | Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper, mount on Dibond | 126 x 101 cm (framed)

Available

Krobo, 2015 | Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper, mount on Dibond | 101 x 126 (framed)

Available

Dede, 2015 | Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper, mount on Dibond | 126 x 101 cm (framed)

Kwadwo Amfo

Koko, 2015 | Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper, mount on Dibond | 126 x 101 cm (framed)

Kwadwo Amfo

Laje, 2015 | Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper, mount on Dibond | 126 x 101 cm (framed)

Kwadwo Amfo

Maku, 2015 | Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper, mount on Dibond | 126 x 101 cm (framed)

Kwadwo Amfo

About the artist

Kwadwo Amfo (b. 1990) is a Ghanaian artist that lives and works in Amsterdam. Amfo established an early interest in art making while growing up which led him to be enrolled into the Visual Arts department in secondary school and did his elective courses in Textiles, Graphic Design, General Knowledge in Art and English Literature. While in secondary school, Amfo developed his love for textile and graphic design while re-enforcing his interest in photography/filmmaking and realized that the two can go hand in hand as he pursued photography (Fiction) at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. Social commentary became the base of Amfo’s work throughout the years ranging from societal beauty standards, identity politics, social inclusion and conformity, and topics on the self and the other. He is the recipient of the RM Photo Talent Award of 2022.

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ABOUT Kwadwo Amfo

Kwadwo Amfo was born in 1990, in Ghana
He lives and works in Amsterdam

Kwadwo Amfo established an early interest in art making while growing up which led him to be enrolled into the Visual Arts department in secondary school and did his elective courses in Textiles, Graphic Design, General Knowledge in Art and English Literature. While in secondary school, Amfo developed his love for textile and graphic design while re-enforcing his interest in photography/filmmaking and realised that the two can go hand in hand as he pursued photography (Fiction) at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague.

Social commentary became the base of Amfo’s work throughout the years ranging from societal beauty standards, identity politics, social inclusion and conformity, and topics on the self and the other. Amfo has expanded this into works that speak representations of misrepresentations, stereotypes and struggles of people of colour. Amfo’s decision to almost exclusively depict black characters, individuals of African heritage, reflects his desire, born of his own experiences, to bring to the fore the inadequate and troubling representations of black people in today’s media, as well as throughout history. In this way their blackness is both a reminder of his search for truth and a microcosm of how the societies in which we live construct the value systems that affect us all.

Use of video media in the virtual space and augmented reality is a new feature in Amfo’s ever expanding creative process. Amfo has broadly exhibited his work at the Scotia Bank Contact Photo Festival in Toronto, in Netherlands and Ghana.

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