Black Like Me — Paintings by Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe

Hailing from Ghana, Quaicoe’s lush and luminous oil paintings of black men and women, some strangers he encounters on the street or on social media, many others, friends and colleagues, stand as visual testaments to the resilience, power and strength inherent in African culture. His portraits reveal the complexities of human experience with both a boldness of line and a singular depth of color, allowing the viewer to celebrate their uniqueness and strength simultaneously.
Quaicoe’s figuration is also built upon a luminously bright color palette where color becomes its own language of transformation and change, be it social, political or personal. These are images of empowerment and redemption, sophistication and humility, curiosity and quietude where each figure becomes a symbol of the reclamation of cultural dignity, embracing the idea of origin and personal responsibility as it relates to gender and race dynamics. Quaicoe explains that “color means a great deal where I come from. It’s a distinguishing quality – a means of self-expression.” Certainly, the colors reflect the subject’s state of mind, or at the very least, suggest a more complicated and celebrated relationship to the world around them. Color defines these figures and gives them agency as the richly saturated hues and intense use of light also further suggest a boldness of thought and intention as well as creating an electrified emotional space where the artist endeavors to capture the essence of each. Black Like me can be seen at Roberts Project , CULVER CITY, CA January 11th – March 7, 2020



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