The Journey is Mine: Chapter One is a solo #art912 exhibition of paintings by Savannah-based artist William Kwamena-Poh (B. 1960). The works in this exhibition present scenes of Kwamena-Poh’s native Ghana, West Africa, often featuring the busy lifestyles of fishermen, the hub of market scenes, and sensitive portraits of Ghanaian women and children.
On his frequent visits to Ghana, Kwamena-Poh photographs these tableaus and then sketches them freehand onto tracing paper in order to maintain the natural and original spontaneity of the captured moment. He transfers the sketch onto heavier watercolor paper, which permits him to scrub and lift the paper to achieve the desired textures and emotional qualities of the scene.
Kwamena-Poh notes that using his preferred medium of gouache, an opaque watercolor, enhances his ability to portray the unique land where he was born. He writes: “The density and opacity of gouache allows me to capture and give the viewer a small window into my beautiful and wonder-filled homeland. The sun’s strength is ever present, providing a colorful environment which is strongly reflected in Ghana culture and clothing.”
When Kwamena-Poh was young, his father, a history professor, hoped his son would continue to share the history of their people. Although his father assumed it would be through academic work, Kwamena-Poh found another compelling way to communicate that history—through the powerful bristles of his paintbrush.
This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by Erin Dunn, Assistant Curator.
About the Artist:
William Kwamena-Poh is a self-taught artist from Ghana, West Africa. He came to the United States in the early 1980s when his father, a noted history professor at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, received a Fulbright scholarship to teach African history at Talladega College, Alabama.
Kwamena-Poh received his B.A. in Sociology at Talladega College, but decided to pursue art as a career, a talent inherited from his paternal grandfather, an art teacher. Kwamena-Poh has traveled extensively, residing in Alabama, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. He has called Savannah home since 1995 and has a studio in the heart of Savannah’s City Market.
Kwamena-Poh’s work is represented in many private and public collections. Kwamena-Poh’s paintings have received many awards at art festivals and fairs across the globe including most recently “Best in Show” in 2018 at the Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival in Tarpon Springs, Fla.
#art912 is an initiative dedicated to raising the visibility and promoting the vitality of artists living and working in Savannah through exhibition opportunities, public programs, and outreach.