"To be aware of who we are, what we are, what we are doing, what we are thinking seems to be a very easy thing to do—and yet it is the most important thing; to remember—the starting point of the salvation of oneself."
- Thich Nhat Hanh, The Raft Is Not the Shore
Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Winner Takes All, a group exhibition co-curated by visual artist Amoako Boafo and curator Larry Ossei-Mensah. Winner Takes All features new works by nine emerging painters whose practices contend with history and the complexity of identity through experimentation with figurative forms, including Sophia-Yemisi Adeyemo-Ross, Jessica Alazraki, Aplerh-Doku Borlabi, YoYo Lander, Anoushka Mirchandani, Zéh Palito, Adjei Tawiah, Nigatu Tsehay,and Didier Viodé. The exhibition is on view from January 13 to February 26, 2022, at the gallery’s 507 West 24th Street space. Long-time collaborators, Boafo and Ossei-Mensah recently presented Boafo’s first museum solo exhibition, Souls of Black Folks, on view at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California, from October 22, 2021 through February 27, 2022.
Taking inspiration from the emotional impact and resiliency found in Carla Bruni’s rendition of the ABBA classic The Winner Takes It All, the exhibition subverts preconceived notions of how figurative painting, and the identity of the maker should be presented. The artists featured in the exhibition construct imaginary spaces within the pictorial planes of their artwork that liberate their diverse subjects from societal constraints of what can be a zero-sum game, especially for people of color and immigrants. It is through this liberation that the featured artists create expansive narratives that encompass a plurality of unique creative voices, including those that have historically been omitted from Western canonical discourse.
Winner Takes All juxtaposes traditional paintings with mixed media works to represent a constellation of artistic voices that unfurl questions of selfhood, culture, and resilience. Through dynamic use of color, texture, line, medium, and form, the artists are unified in their desire to invite the viewer into a deep, but necessary, discourse related to our collective humanity and personhood. The artists explore what representation looks and feels like for their communities, ultimately begging the question how can we see each other and ourselves truthfully?
About Larry Ossei-Mensah
Larry Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. The Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe. A native of the Bronx, Ossei-Mensah is also the co-founder of ARTNOIR, a 501(c)(3) and global collective of culturalists who design multimodal experiences aimed to engage this generation’s dynamic and diverse creative class. Ossei-Mensah is the former Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at MOCAD in Detroit. Ossei-Mensah currently serves as Curator-at-Large at BAM, where he curated the New York Times heralded the exhibition Let Free Ring. Ossei-Mensah recently co-curated the 7th Athens Biennial—ECLIPSE with OMSK Social Club. Additionally, Ossei-Mensah curated Ghanian painter Amoako Boafo’s first museum solo exhibition—Soul of Black Folks at the Museum of the African Diaspora currently on view until February 27, 2022.
About Amoako Boafo
Amoako Boafo was born on the 10th of May 1984 and raised in Osu, Accra – Ghana. He studied at the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Accra in 2007, before attending the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria. He is regarded as a notable young voice in art of the African diaspora through his new approaches to the “representation, documentation, and celebration of Blackness” by shaping of Black forms and their dispositions in a larger global context. Boafo was awarded with the jury prize, Walter Koschatzky Art Prize in 2017 and the STRABAG Art award International in 2019 both in Vienna, Austria. In 2019, he participated in a residency with the new Rubell Museum in Miami, Florida and in 2020 collaborated with Dior for their Spring/Summer 2021 Men Collection. Widely collected by private and public collectors and institutions, most recently by Leopold Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Rubell Museum, Marieluise Hessel Collection, the Aishti Foundation, Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Hessel Museum of Art, The Pizzuti Collection of Columbus Museum of Art and the Albertina Museum in Vienna.