Adelaide Damoah, British-Ghanaian (b. 1976, London).
Damoah’s current practice involves using her body as a “living paintbrush” to paint or print onto various surfaces. The artist works with photographs and text later in the creation of the work. Damoah was initially inspired by a desire to subvert Yves Klein’s “Anthropometries” series and engages in live performances of the first part of her creative process- body printing and writing.
Damoah is interested in the use of recorded history to generate a spontaneous response. The uncanny- the familiar within the familiar, or the unfamiliar within the familiar. Through her performances, she is the channel by which the previously unknown becomes known again.
Damoah’s performances are products of organic processes which depend not only on the different modes of sensory perception of her body of unambiguous (i.e. explicit and literal) and ambiguous (i.e. implicit and metaphorical) processes and events taking place in their multi-sensory perceptions of the sensory world; but also on the individual (mental and bodily sensory) and collective (cultural) memory-images she derives from both these different modes of perception and their diasporic experiences.
The processes of production of such mythopoetic artwork may be conceived in terms of life-cycles in which the ancestral life that was previously unknown – and therefore alien become known in the artwork, only to become partially/totally replaced by another life which was previously unknown. Damoah uses her work to explore the unstable boundary distinctions between the human ‘subjective self’ and the non human ‘objective other’ materials of nature with which she conjointly produces these artworks. A viewer of her performances may experience both an enhanced/impaired distinction between his/her self’ and the profane/sacred ‘other’ life(s) in a (sub)liminal ‘zone’ of perception that was previously forbidden to him/her; and encourages the viewer to attribute mysterious, enigmatic and unfixed meanings to the ancestral/new life.
[The artist Adelaide Damoah’s] visual artmaking contests the outdated idols and ideologies of colour, race, creed and gender imposed both on her – and on the Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric history of her family – by colonialism and neo-colonialism. Damoah revalues – and thereby unbinds herself from – these outdated idols and ideologies by using the Promethean fire of her mythopoetic thinking to magically produce artistic images that function as ‘crucibles’ in which she (al)chemically interweaves materialised memory-traces of her family in the past and the present.
Extract From Stephen Baycroft’s essay: Beginning a new life by revaluing idols and ideologies © 2018.
Damoah cites her main influences as being Judy Chicago, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hammons, Yves Klein, Sokari Douglas Camp, Rachel Ara and Ana Mendieta. Solo exhibitions to date include Genesis, This is Us, Supermodels, Black Lipstick, and a domestic violence exhibition for registered charity, the National Centre for Domestic Violence. Performances to date include This is Me the Inconsistency of the Self, My Body is Present, Homage to Ana Mendieta #MYFACE, and Into the Mind of the Coloniser.