Gideon Appah, Untitled (Diptych), 2019, Mixed Media, 100 x 130 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957
Based in Accra and working internationally, Gallery 1957 is dedicated to contemporary art. With a curatorial focus on West Africa, the gallery presents a programme by the region’s most significant artists bridging the gap between local and international practices, including Modupeola Fadugba, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Jeremiah Quarshie, Yaw Owusu, Gerald Chukwuma, crazinisT artisT and Godfried Donkor. Founded by Marwan Zakhem in 2016, the gallery has evolved over 15 years of private collecting. Offering both local audiences and international visitors the opportunity to discover artists, their work expands outside the gallery through a public programme that includes talks, residencies, site-specific installations, and supporting cultural initiatives in Ghana and beyond. Recently they have presented a solo show from Serge Attukwei Clottey in a ‘gallery takeover’ at Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai.
Gideon Appah is a mixed media artist who draws from personal experiences of life in the capital of Accra. In new works created for 1-54, Appah responds
directly to his upbringing, by presenting them in the context of a family setting. The series titled Memoirs Through Pokua’s Window, transforms the booth into
Appah’s Grandmother’s house, using old family photo-albums and half-memories as reference material.
Growing up in a large family, the works are reflective of a life characterized by strong emotional bonds, religious activities and folklore. Through nostalgic blues,
deep green landscapes and charcoal, his dreamlike compositions place typical domestic interiors from 1980s and 90s Ghana against surreal landscapes.
Pots, stools, lamps, windows, photographs and masks populate Appah’s works, appearing as fragments from inconsistent past. Presented alongside glimpses of
nature – plains, trees, plants and particularly rivers – Appah alludes to the organic transformation of memories over time.
Using thick, rough applications of acrylic upon collaged layers of appropriated posters, prints and photographs, Appah directly references his own familial
histories. The posters used – advertising haircuts, barber shops and tailoring – relate to occupations of his aunts, uncles and grandparents, the overall result
becoming an artistic archive of communal life in Accra.