Kwesi Botchway’s (b. 1994) emotionally-charged paintings highlight the idea of beauty in relation to the Black experience. Color plays a significant role in his work, symbolically expressing the character, community, culture, and language of his subjects. In his signature, angular brushstrokes, he emphasizes their black skin with purple hues, a color linked to royalty, grandeur, mystery, magic, seduction, and wisdom.
While some of his subjects are inspired by real people, others are born from imagination. Also often informed by socio-political events around the world, the artist seeks to elevate the Black community, giving prominence to African culture in the history of art. His latest creations focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Botchway critiques the colonial history of portraiture, and the stereotypical depiction of the Black subject in scenes labor and slavery. He diverts by giving prominence, power, and individuality to his subjects, who take center stage.
I’m a Black artist, and I feel like we are one people—and I need to represent my people.