This is Me: The Inconsistency of the Self. Performance at UNFOLD Festival 3rd October 2017
Images Courtesy Jennifer Moyes

Current Work

Recently, I have been inspired by a combination of self discovery and interaction with colleagues, to explore beyond the traditional figure or portrait. To express myself using my body as a printing tool. To leave my physical mark, while simultaneously using automatic writing through and around the impressions left by my “self.”

The writing takes the form of streams of consciousness and happenings, interspersed with words and proverbs from the languages of my parents- both from Ghana. Ga, Twi and Fanti. This is an ongoing labour of love called “This is Me…” 

Artist Statement

I consider the performative element of my practice central to everything I currently make. The final pieces I produce are the end results of a performance- whether the process was started in my studio or in front of an audience.

The starting point for my work is my body. Inspired by David Hammons, I use myself as a “living paint brush” or as a printing tool. I sometimes work into and around the resulting body prints with writing and images from the past and present to complete pieces- which can end up being minimal or highly detailed and patterned, depending on my intention for the piece in that moment. I work instinctively.

I was inspired by Yves Klein’s 1960 Anthropometries performance, in which he selected young (white) women who would have been widely considered to have had ideal proportions and to be seen as beautiful, to be used as “living paintbrushes.” He instructed them to cover their torsos and thighs with his patented blue paint and directed them- in front of an audience- to press and roll their bodies onto the surface, making the art work and ultimately, in my opinion, creating a passive female body -which was culturally looked upon and eroticised by the male gaze.

I sought to counter that idea by using myself, giving myself agency, whilst Klein’s models were stripped of agency. When I performed at UNFOLD  in October 2017, I used and directed myself (as I do in the studio), applying the paint to my whole body in private, removing the potential for eroticisation and objectification. This was my intention.

My main influences include David Hammons, Yves Klein, Judy Chicago, Ana Mendieta and Jean-Michel Basquiat. But my biggest influence has always been Frida Kahlo.

Bio

I use my body to paint and perform…”

Adelaide Damoah is a British artist of Ghanaian descent whose earlier work combined African and Western influences while highlighting social issues.

After graduating with a degree in Applied Biology in 1999, Damoah went on to work in the pharmaceutical industry. During this time, she was diagnosed with endometriosis after many years of chronic pain. Her time spent convalescing allowed her to learn more about her passion for painting, while simultaneously, re-evaluating what was most important to her.

Damoah’s current practice involves using her body as a printing tool- using oil paint as a medium, adding images and text later in the creation of her work. Inspired by a desire to subvert Yves Klein’s “Anthropemetrie” series. Damoah engages in live performances of the first part of her creative process- body printing and writing.

Damoah cites her main influences as being Judy Chicago, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yves Klein, Sokari Douglas Camp, Rachel Ara and Ana Mendieta.

Damoah’s solo exhibitions to date also include This is Us, Supermodels, Black Lipstick, and a domestic violence exhibition for registered charity, the National Centre for Domestic Violence.

Adelaide Damoah interviews visual artists for her Youtube channel. The videos form a series called Art Discussion. First started in 2011 as blog interviews, the series seeks to discover how artists overcome their biggest challenges, achieve their biggest successes and aims to give advice to artists at the start of their careers.

What is the BBFA Collective?

 

BBFA stands for Black British Female Artist Collective. Founded in 2015 by Enam Gbewonyo, the BBFA was established to address the lack of visibility and platforms available to black female artists in the UK. We have a number of events and projects in the pipeline for 2017 and beyond. Watch this space for updates. Please visit our blog and follow our various social media channels below to be kept abreast of the latest news. Exciting times are ahead for the collective!

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