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Aspen Art Museum


Amoako Boafo

Kinky Pony
Oil on canvas.
35 ⅜ x 35 ⅜ in (90 x 90 cm)
Kindly donated by the artist and Mariane Ibrahim.
Estimate: $80,000–$120,000


In Kinky Pony, 2020, the sitter calmly looks back, holding the viewer’s gaze. Her dignity and serenity are typical of Amoako Boafo’s portraits of Black subjects, selected from amongst his friends, families, and public figures he admires.

For the skin, Boafo uses his fingers, applying the paint thickly, the marks of his digits visible on the thickly impastoed surface. The result is a highly dynamic, expressive treatment that sits in sharp contrast to the rest of the painting. Backgrounds are pared back, often to a simple block of color. Clothing is rendered with a flat, graphic simplicity—either painted in strong colors or in a recent body of work by using a transfer method, borrowing patterns from European wallpapers to create busy prints, that again contrast in their sharp edges with the sitter’s skin.

For Boafo it is important not to distract from his subject, and in a short film discussing his 2020 exhibition with Mariane Ibrahim in Chicago, he expresses his desire to present his subjects in a “vivid and momentous manner.” In Kinky Pony the woman wears a high-necked white garment, devoid of all detail—a mere suggestion of clothing. Boafo’s rendering ensures that there are no distractions and that our focus is on her.

Born in 1984 in Accra, Ghana, Boafo now lives and works in Vienna. Exhibiting widely, his work reached an even larger audience when he collaborated with Dior’s artistic director Kim Jones on the label’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection. Boafo’s work is widely collected by prominent public and private collections, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Leopold Museum, Vienna, and Rubell Museum, Miami.

Artist Bio

Amoako Boafo (born in 1984 in Accra, Ghana, lives, and works in Austria, Vienna) uses painting to create his enticing characters and honor Black figures’ place in the pictorial tradition of the portrait. He is regarded as a notable young voice in the art of the African Diaspora through his new approaches to the shaping of Black forms, and their dispositions in a larger global context.

Boafo’s portraits are enticing in their lucidity. The brushstrokes are thick and gestural, and the contours of the body almost soften into abstraction. Accentuated and elevated figures are often isolated on single color backgrounds, their gaze the focal point, to disrupt observations from canonical viewership. The poses are serene and the skin luminous, his tableaux-vivants place the figures at a higher recognition, both physically in regard to the size and spiritually in terms of their grandeur. Boafo studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (Austria). In 2017, he was awarded the jury prize, Walter Koschatzky Art Prize.

Widely collected by private and public collectors and institutions, most recently by the Leopold Museum (Vienna, Austria), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY), Marieluise Hessel Collection Hessel Museum of Art (Annandale-On-Hudson, NY), Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (Annandale-On-Hudson, NY), The Albertina Museum Vienna (Austria), and the Rubell Museum (Miami, FL). In addition, his work has been exhibited in Europe and the United States in institutions such as the Volkskunde Museum (Vienna, Austria), Kunsthalle Vienna (Vienna, Austria), Mumok (Vienna, Austria), and The Bass Museum (Miami, FL) among others.

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