Lawrie Shabibi presents The Soil From Which We Came, the first solo exhibition of Larry Amponsah (b. 1989, Ghana) in the UAE. The exhibition continues the artist’s experimentation, reconfiguration and modification of archival imagery through collage and painting, in order to evoke a deeper awareness of interconnectivity and focus on contemporary Black culture, identity, politics and history.
As a whole the exhibition can be considered a love story – one that explores connections: person to person, the inhabitant and the inhabited, and the relationship between things and people. It also looks at the extent to which one can pursue and push the possibility of painting and mixed media as an artist. Amponsah embarked on a journey to reinvent painting through a horticultural approach, which is full of vitality, hope and possibilities while confronting some of the unresolved questions of the language of painting, and the possibilities of representation in the history of art.
Central to the exhibition is Amponsah’s latest series of large-scale paintings, brimming with intricately cross-pollinated images seemingly torn from magazines and other media. Images of fruits, plants, vegetables and flowers that would normally seem difficult to intersect naturally are cleverly planted into each work. The compositions materialize from smaller collages which are scanned, digitally manipulated, printed onto canvas and worked on further using traditional painting techniques. Illusive to the senses, these works do not fall under the category of painting when looked at, and/or under collage when observed closer. They are neither shaped by reality nor fiction, but reside in the space between the physical and imagined. Amponsah’s visual approach has the ability to deceive, enhance, grow, revive, protect, invade, and blossom, just like the natural world. The result is a new series of dynamic, fluid, ethereal ecosystems within which the characters come to life. Amponsah invites viewers to immerse in this flourishing environment and to join his heart-felt discussion about the politics of representation and to rethink and celebrate the beauty of Black resilience, achievements and contributions to the world.