Aplerh-Doku Borlabi | Artist Overview

Aplerh-Doku Borlabi’s early works applied his foundational learning in academic painting, creating naturalistic compositions, and for years he grappled with finding a visual language that felt authentic. Using coconut sheath to create the skin of the figures in his portraits, he found a way to embody his own culture and ethnic identity into his practice. The coconut tree and fruit is now part of the artist’s daily visual experience. From a distance, the mixed media works of oil paint and coconut husk on canvas, appear as richly toned brown skin. The intrinsic properties of the coconut sheath’s multiple layers, longhairs, and varying shades of brown whimsically renders skin texture and bone structure, while emulating the way natural light surfaces on skin. With one medium, the artist was able to capture the physical colour complexities of black people’s skin, and visually narrate the physical organic connections of humanity, and plant life.

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Aplerh-Doku Borlabi is a Ghanaian artist who was born in 1987.