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Atta Kwami

Atta Kwami
Dusiadu (EveryTown) 2020 and
Atsiaƒu ƒe agbo nu (Gateways of the Sea) 2020

Commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021

For The Plot, Atta Kwami presents two three-dimensional artworks: an imposing but joyful asymmetric double archway stands at the junction of four pathways in the centre of the Harbour Arm. And a very different group of sculptures derived from traditional West African street vending kiosks take up position on Castle Hill Avenue near to the Civic Centre.

Free-standing archways are an ancient expression of architectural playfulness, of celebration and pride. Kiosks are ubiquitous structures in Ghana found alongside roads in towns and villages, nascent shops, cobbled together by their owners or custom-built by local carpenters, usually brightly coloured in endlessly different designs.

Kwami is aware of the resilience and personal struggle (his own and others) required to aspire to a level of hope and excellence. He values the kind of work in which the interaction between innovation and tradition is a subtle matter. When he paints, it feels like a conversation between himself and the painting or with other artists, alive and dead, African and non-African.  

Atta Kwami is a painter, printmaker, and art historian. He studied, and later taught, at the KNUST in Kumasi, Ghana. In 2007 he received a PhD in art history at the Open University for his work for contemporary Ghanaian artists, now published as Kumasi Realism, 1951-2007: An African Modernism. (Hurst & Company, 2013). 

Atta Kwami works in Ghana and the UK, and is represented by Beardsmore Gallery, London and Nicolas Krupp Gallery, Basel, Switzerland. In 2021 he received the Maria Lassnig Prize. 

Find more of Atta Kwami's work.


Artist Film

Atta Kwami, Dusiadu (EveryTown), Commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2017. Photo by Thierry Bal

Atta Kwami, Atsiaƒu ƒe agbo nu (Gateways of the Sea), Commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2017. Photo by Thierry Bal

Film by Oliver Parkin. Drone footage by Tom Bishop Photography

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