Michael Gah

Michael Gah
Accra born-and-based, contemporary artist Michael Gah is one of Ghana’s most exciting contemporary portraitists. His medium is equally intriguing – fashioning larger-than-life and hyper coloured figurative works using strips of endemic fabrics, the hugely colourful and patterned textiles that are intertwined with the very heart of womanhood in the modern African context. His pieces are a challenge – to social norms for women in Africa and indeed to contemporary art and figurative work; working with fabric and collaging has long been the realm of crafters and his potent portraits are frank in their delivery. Gah cites not only his mother, but all modern African women, as his inspiration – his faceless (though no less personality-laden) subjects defy traditional ‘African expectations’. They are represented as thoroughly modern muses engaged in social and even romantic activities, that answer only to their own whims and certainly not to the stifling belief systems thrust upon them for eons. The poses are provocative in that they are a far cry from the head and shoulders ‘African Woman’ figurative work, so commonplace on the continent in 20th century art. Gah’s work also references social media and the modern day importance of Instagram reality and camera facing messaging. The power in Gah’s portraits lies in the intentional tension between past and present and a suggestion that eradication of repressive expectations is inevitable and crucial. The use of traditional fabrics insists on the viewer's mindfulness about outdated norms, while still appreciating the gifts and weight of the past. COUNTRY • GHANA

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    Morning Dew
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    Joy Overwhelming
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