Patrick Quarm

Stories emanate from textile studies of people and place.

Patrick Quarm (he/him) was born in 1988 in Sekondi, Ghana, and now lives and works in Takoradi, Ghana.


Quarm is currently in New Haven completing the NXTHVN residency – founded by Titus Kaphar. In 2019 he was an Artist in Residence at the Red Hill House of Art.

Did you know?

The artist's figures are often based on family members and friends, offering him space to explore themes of cultural identity and belonging on a personal level within his paintings.

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Practice overview

Like memory, Quarm’s portraits are fragmented, partial and, at times, erased. His personal history, growing up in postcolonial Ghana before migrating to the US, prompted a deep investigation of cultural hybrids and how location can simultaneously expand and dilute identity. Identifying his practice as “cultural archaeology,” he explores the intricacies of selfhood and how it relates to time and space. As such, the figures Quarm paints and the fabrics he collages symbolise the folded layers of multiple cultures – each element its own vessel of history.

Through trompe l’oeil, Quarm camouflages figures with pattern to symbolically complicate the image of their identity. He does this by cutting pieces of African wax print fabric, and then painting over them with vivid oil pigment to render photorealistic portraits of family and friends. Influences from traditional Western portraiture blend with vibrant African textile and are inspired by figural painters like Kerry James Marshall, Alfred Conteh and Conrad Egyir. Griot (2020) is a lively assemblage of colour and pattern. Its title – meaning storyteller – reflects a vast tapestry of narrative. Here, the figure is adorned with Quarm’s signature style of blended skin and wax print. Circular holes allude to windows as metaphorical portals into new experiences. Layering history, fabric and figures, Quarm blends multiple dimensions of people and place into a singular, surreal plane.

“I always roll back the chapters of history.”Patrick Quarm