Ghana Waves App
Beginning November 11th, Venus Over Manhattan will present an exhibition of new works by Ghanaian artist Cornelius Annor, whose collaged paintings of family photographs draw upon his personal history in Ghana.
Entitled “Lost But Found,” the artist’s debut solo exhibition in the United States features twelve works, including new portraits, images of his relatives, and complex narrative scenes. Cornelius Annor: Lost But Found will be on view at Venus through December 18th.
Cornelius Annor paints portraits and figurative works that picture moments of community and intimacy, set in domestic spaces.
The artist has a longstanding fascination with the human face, and his works show focused attention to the expressiveness of various faces and figures.
Annor’s paintings typically incorporate segments of fabric, adding to the intimacy and evocativeness of the portraits. The backgrounds of the works often integrate Ghanaian textile patterns, which Annor achieves by transferring a fabric’s dyes onto canvas, establishing an atmosphere of layered memories, emotions, and experiences.
Annor’s subjects have traditionally stemmed from memory and personal history in Ghana, and for this exhibition, Annor draws primarily from images found in his family’s photo albums. Discussing the relationship between photography and memory, the artist describes:
“The advent of photography [allowed for the] archiving of history, memory, testimony and identity…[as] pictures. In post-independence Africa, specifically, Ghana where I come from, photography became a new tool to archive our family history, from celebratory moments to [moments where we] part ways.
Every family house [has] a photo album that at least tells the untold stories of the family.
New generations grow up [with these] memories of the past, [and experience] the joy, pain, happiness, and sad moments their family encountered.
This project seeks to reenact those past memories which seem lost, absent, forgotten or unknown, and to present a certain presence of [them] now.”
Many of the paintings in the exhibition depict members of Annor’s immediate and extended family, rendered in moments both casual and significant.
Annor derives his compositions from this personal archive of family photographs, each of which was originally framed, composed, and shot by a participant or close observer of the situation depicted.
Layered with skeins of paint, bolts of fabric, and rigorous draughtsmanship, Annor’s paintings renovate these referents, merging history with the present.
The works on view excavate a personal photographic vernacular, and taken together, telegraph the past through an intimate painterly vision.
Cornelius Annor was born in 1990 in Accra, Ghana.
Annor studied at the Ghanatta College of Art and Design.
His work has been featured in exhibitions in Accra, London, and New York.
His work is held in the permanent collections of The Bunker Artspace, West Palm Beach, and Espacio Tacuari, Buenos Aires.
In 2022, Annor’s work will be featured in “Contemporary African Portraiture,” curated by Florian Steininger, at Kunsthalle Krems.
Annor lives and works in Ghana, where he established C.Annor studio, a space dedicated to encouraging and supporting young artists.