Patrick Quarm

Storytelling ensues in textile portraits of people and place.

Patrick Quarm sat in his studio with paintings on the wall behind him
close-up of Patrick Quarm adding details using a thin paintbrush to a painting in his studio
large paint palette on a table next to various tubes of oil paints
4 images

Patrick Quarm was born in 1988 in Sekondi, Ghana, and now lives and works in Takoradi, Ghana.

Achievements

He was an Artist in Residence at the Red Hill House of Art in 2019, and received the Thomas ‘Curry’ Roberts-Regent Endowment Art Scholarship from Texas Tech University, where he gained his MFA in Painting and Drawing.

Did you know?

The artist's characters are often based on family members and friends, offering spaces 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