Kwesi Botchway

Glamorous portraits celebrate the many shades of Black.

Kwesi Botchway (he/him) was born in 1994 in Accra, Ghana. He lives and works in Accra and Brussels, Belgium.

Did you know?

Botchway heads Worldfaze, an Accra-based foundation that works with kids to offer and promote arts education. This community focus brings the artist full circle, as when he was a child he pursued his interest in art by apprenticing for a local street artist.

Education

A fellow graduate of Ghanatta College of Art and Design, Botchway joins classmates and close friends Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe and Amoafo Boako in spearheading a young generation of Ghanaian artists making waves internationally.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Kwesi Botchway’s portraits relish in colour. Flat, brightly coloured backdrops accentuate the dark skin of the figures – which the artist renders in deep, nearly-black shades of purple. Seeking to “elevate Blackness,” the artist sees purple as a symbol of luxury and power, equating his figures with royalty. Highlights are layered in cross-hatching brushstrokes to give the skin an ethereal glow, tying into the expressive painting style Botchway dubs “Afro-impressionism.” In contrast to his earlier realist work, this style draws inspiration from contemporary painters such as Amy Sherald and Kerry James Marshall who use many different hues to depict Black skin – embracing the many intricacies of melanin.

Botchway sees his paintings as “conversations without words.” The figures’ facial expressions are key, often making direct eye contact with viewers in a symbolic gesture to reverse the gaze. The confidence of the figures is also reflected in their fashion choices – sporting a mixture of street fashion, glamorous evening wear and traditional West African prints which reflect the mix of cultures and lifestyles the artist witnessed growing up in the Nima area of Accra. Similarly, Botchway’s portraits celebrate the many shades of Blackness with joy.

“I always want my figures to be vibrant, full of confidence and happiness because that’s how I want to see Black people.” Kwesi Botchway