La Foundation for the Arts (LAFA) presents TOUCH: A Womxn-Led Exploration of Materiality and Connection

Enam Gbewonyo, Nude Me, Under The Skin - A Resurrection of Black Women’s Visibility, 2020, Performance Film Still

La Foundation for the Arts (LAFA) is pleased to announce TOUCH, a womxn led exploration of materiality and touch curated by Ghanaian-British curator Chantel Akworkor Thompson. Taking place at the newly founded La Foundation For the Art, the exhibition explores the dissemination of ancestral and intuitive knowledge through sensation and connection.The works presented interrogate femininity, identity, African spirituality, ecology, and humanity through various mediums.

The exhibition features the works of: Adelaide Damoah, Asia Clarke, Maggie Sade Coker, Sianeh A. Kpukuyou, Enam Gbewonyo & collective Black Girls Glow.

Through the exhibition, curator Chantel Akworkor Thompson invites viewers to consider what they feel when they touch: what does the act of touching evoke, inspire and how can this initiate healing? Through her selection of works, she encourages viewers to activate all of their senses when touching: their sight, smell , hearing and even their intuition.

Adelaide damoah marie therese 2018
Adelaide Damoah, Marie-Therese, 2018, Pigment and ink on hand made cotton rag paper, 53 1/8 x 37 in | 135 x 94 cm

Adelaide Damoah’s layers of ink and pigment draw the eyes in. The body is transformed into an instrument of touch, leaving recognisable prints and figures on handmade, recycled cotton rag paper. Enam Gbewonyo’s film Nude Me, Under the Skin also demonstrates the body’s memory and ability to hold a narrative. Behind backdrops of brown wooden surroundings and stained-glass windows, the black female body inserts and asserts itself. Gbewonyo elicits conversations about colonisation and slavery. Touch is active, both an unravelling and a revealing. Like Gbewonyo, Sianeh A. Kpukuyou uses colour to enhance the visibility of the black female body. Against an ocean-blue backdrop, Backyard Kids positions a sun-stricken mat over two black women.

Asia ‘WildMoon’ Clarke and Maggie Sade Coker consider how African spirituality and ecology inspire pause, prompt reflection, and encourage healing. Through Clarke’s Jumbie, we are reminded of the impact our touch and energies have on our external and natural worlds. Whilst Coker reminds us of the vital role flowers and nature play in mental, emotional, and social health. Like Clarke and Coker, Black Girls Glow nurtures space for healing, transforming touch into sound, through the sonic journey they present for the exhibition.

The exhibition is accompanied by a critical essay by Amma Amofaah-Ofosu: Through the Senses and Stored in Our Souls. In this she concludes:

TOUCH is an act of connecting with everything around us, a sensory action that requires various forms of contact. In this exhibition, there is a collective display of holistic sensory knowledge, culminating in a wide-reaching comprehension of what it may mean to touch and feel connected.”

Amma Amofaah-Ofosu

About La Foundation for the Arts:

Founded by Safoa Aïsha Cablye-Gaisie, LA Foundation for the Arts (LAFA) is a non-profit service organization with an unwavering commitment to advancing, realizing, and preserving the vision of emerging and unrecognized art workers and administrators in Ghana through meaningful relationships with the wider African diaspora.

LAFA’s primary objective is to create new, sustainable opportunities and to empower individual artists by providing critical support, professional development tools, and resources for defining and achieving career success.

LAFA’s work is aligned with the mission of Ayéya (“life in balance”) and whose vision of empowering creatives within our community in order to break the cycles of economic injustice and gender inequality is one we share.

Chantel Akworkor Thompson
Image of Chantel Akworkor Thompson

About the curator:

Chantel Akworkor Thompson is an independent curator and educator based in Ghana. She has curated shows in Accra, New York and Paris, working predominantly with African artists, including Amoako Boafo, Adjei Tawiah & Aplerh-Doku Borlabi. Founder of Beyond the Black Canvas, she amplifies the voices of Black artists and supports early-career artists in Ghana, bridging the knowledge gap between home studio and the international art market. Through her art collection, she aims to create a visual archive of her lived experience as a British born Ghanaian, documenting the moments that have shaped her identity. She also worked on The World Reimagined project

(The UK’s largest National art project for racial justice) and was an associate at The What If Experiment, who support organisations within the creative industry to build cultures of accountability with an anti-racist lens.

About the artists

Adelaide Damoah:

British-Ghanaian artist Adelaide Damoah works at the intersection of painting and performance within the context of colonialism, identity, sexuality and spirituality. After studying applied biology at Kingston University London, her subsequent career in the pharmaceutical industry was cut short following a diagnosis of the chronic illness endometriosis. While convalescing, she dedicated herself to art.

Damoah’s current practice involves using her body as a “living paintbrush” to paint or print onto various surfaces. Initially inspired by a desire to subvert Yves Klein’s “Anthropometries,” in which he directed a group of women to cover their nude bodies in his signature Blue paint and then imprint themselves on white paper, Damoah prints her body onto white surfaces, thereby remixing Klein’s original performance through her own identity and encouraging discussion about female representation, feminism, sexual stereotypes and art history. Combining her body prints with found images, text and gold, she also explores her personal family history and Britain’s colonial past with Ghana in her work.

Asia ‘Wildmoon’ Clarke:

Asia Clarke is an Afro-Caribbean/Canadian Multidisciplinary Artist, Designer and Hairstylist who centers sustainability and futures-thinking in her arts practice. She is passionate about re-envisioning African diaspora futures and helping communities, clients and brands to envision and actualize their creativity. She holds a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University. She has been practicing as an artist for 13+ years as a jewelry and costume designer, and hairstylist, her work has been published worldwide, with featured credits in major publications. As a consultant she is also very accomplished, with over 9 years of experience in international development projects in Canada, Dominica, Trinidad, eSwatini and Ghana..  

Black Girls Glow :

Black Girls Glow is a collective that increases the active participation and presence of women and non-binary artists in their communities. They bring visibility to women’s issues and explore ways in which they can use art to solve these issues, by providing programs that foster collaboration, innovation and leadership development. Founded in 2017 as a residency to foster collaboration among artists, it has grown into a cluster of programs dedicated to exploring ways in which art can be used to build community and thriving ecosystems. They are invested in a world where women and girls have access to resources, community, mentorship and space in their growth as artists, leaders and active members of their community.

Enam Gbewonyo

Enam Gbewonyo is a British-Ghanian textile and performance artist, curator, and founder of the BBFA (Black British Female Artist) Collective. Her art practice investigates identity – womanhood in particular, whilst advocating the healing benefits of craft. She uses performance as a vessel, creating live spaces of healing that direct audiences to a positive place of awareness, countering systems of oppression such as racism and sexism. Her work enables audiences to face the truth of the dark past surrounding colonial legacies and the emotions it brings forth.

Recent exhibitions include Neo-Custodians: Woven Narratives of Heritage, Cultural Memory and Belonging at Bemis Center in Omaha, USA, Body Poetics at Southampton’s GIANT Gallery, and Rites of Passage at Gagosian London. Her work has been exhibited and showcased internationally at the 58th Venice Biennale, Art X Lagos, and UNTITLED Art Fair Miami to name a few.

Gbewonyo is represented by London-based gallery TAFETA, who specialise in 20th-century and contemporary African art. Her works are in several private and public collections including Fondation H, Madagascar and White & Case LLP, UK. She is a 2022 recipient of the Henry Moore. Foundation Artist Award and winner of the 2022 Dentons Art Prize and New Art Exchange Future Exhibition Prize respectively. She is also a fellow of Kehinde Wiley’s acclaimed Black Rock Senegal artist residency as well as Bemis Center, Omaha, USA.

Maggie Sade Coker:

Maggie is a holistic mental health practitioner, flower therapy workshop facilitator, and floral stylist with over ten years of experience. She is originally from the UK and currently resides in Accra, Ghana. She is also the founder of FlowerTalk Official, a multidisciplinary studio, with mental wellness, flower therapy, and nature at its core.

Along with her one-to-one coaching she hosts workplace wellness workshops and facilitates indoor and outdoor nature-inspired activities for brands and corporate events: Snapchat, YouTube, Adidas, Uniqlo, Esty, and more!

Sianeh A. Kpukuyou:

Sianeh A. Kpukuyou also known as Ask is a versatile photographer and creative director committed to crafting authentic stories through her lens. Her work celebrates people and communities, resonating globally with clients such as Paramount Studios, Tate modern, Water Ai, Vogue, Gucci, and more. Starting her journey in 2018 Sianeh’s mission is to capture each frame as a piece of nostalgia, weaving timeless stories that evoke lasting emotions. Passionate about the art of storytelling, she takes pride in curating visuals that breathe life into memories.

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