Spotlight

Spotlight Photo London exhibitor Kweku Yeboah

Championed by Charlotte Jansen
The Wick - Kweku Yeboah,
Everything Has Beauty, but Not Everyone Sees It, 2021
Above  Kweku Yeboah, Everything Has Beauty, but Not Everyone Sees It, 2021
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The Wick - Kweku Yeboah Portrait
Above  Kweku Yeboah Portrait
Interview
Kweku Yeboah
15 May 2024
Interview
Kweku Yeboah
15 May 2024
Playful and charismatic, Kweku Yeboah’s images are a sharp, eye-catching mix of fashion, street and portrait photography into his own unique and highly personal language. Drawing inspiration from West Africa and the West, and from his own, sometimes brutal experiences in Ghanaian society as a young man. Yeboah (who also makes films, and works as a creative director and erstwhile model) extends joy as a sign of resilience and an act of resistance.

Accra, where Yeboah is based, is the backdrop and inspiration for many of Yeboah’s works; the attitude of its young creatives, street sellers, or performers; the beach; the markets. Yeboah moves freely between documenting life in his city and choreographing beautiful scenes of his own imaginary. This month, Yeboah presents his work for the first time in the UK, in a solo exhibition at Photo London with Bright Gallery.
“Kweku Yeboah’s work is confident, proud and packs a visual punch every time. His use of colour, clothing, and his sensibility for interesting staging makes Yeboah one of the most exciting photographers coming out of the continent now. Indebted to the great Ghanaian portraitists, Felicia Abban and James Barnor, his work captures the vibrancy, style and energy of his hometown Accra from his point of view, a young man looking out at the world full of hope and desire. His work frequently focuses on male subjects and queers traditional ideas about African men, machismo and masculinity – he can dress a model in a frothy bridal gown and have him sit on a motorbike, and it feels as natural as two boxers posing with fists raised. I especially like the softer, more elegiac and dreamlike moments he shoots at the beach, capturing bodies intertwining in an intimate dance. He has an remarkable ability to draw out emotion and mystery, that to me is what truly makes his work stand out. I think people are going to really connect with it when they see it at Photo London.”

“Spirituality, gender, and society serve as the focal points of my vision, where I delve into how African society is molded by tradition, norms, and culture” Yeboah explains. “This includes a focus on extended family dynamics, social values, and the roles assigned to different genders. The pressure on men to conform to societal expectations of masculinity has led to a crisis of self-expression, particularly within the confines of religious and cultural norms.”

For Yeboah, photography, art and fashion are all ways to bring people together, as much as to allow a sense of freedom. “It’s crucial to encourage individual expression without judgment, as unity strengthens society while division weakens it.” The intimate, pensive project Yeboah is showing at Photo London, titled Prophecies, is motivated by this concern, to promote understanding and acceptance, to look at each other with love and empathy. It’s an intimate series of soft, elegant portraits, some moving in close to the body, others taking a wistful look from a distance. Underpinning them all is an idea close to Yeboah’s heart – the notion that it “plays a vital role in fostering societal cohesion.” Art has been a saving grace for the artist. And he hopes his work can now do the same for others.

About the champion

The Wick - Spotlight Photo London exhibitor Kweku Yeboah

Charlotte Jansen is a British Sri Lankan author, journalist and critic based in London. Jansen writes on contemporary art and photography for The Guardian, The Financial Times, The New York Times, British Vogue and ELLE, among others. She is the author of two books on photography: Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze, (HACHETTE, 2017) and Photography Now (TATE, 2021). She is the presenter of Dior Talks podcast series, The Female Gaze. Jansen is the curator of Discovery at Photo London.

“He has an remarkable ability to draw out emotion and mystery”

Place of Birth

Accra, Ghana

Education

High school certificate: enrolled in General Arts Studies in Accra Academy Senior High School.

Awards, Accolades

My awards and accolades are my produced work those are my trophies.

Current exhibitions

I’m presenting a solo exhibition at Photo London 2024 with Bright Gallery.

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Mother Nature

Advice

Always know culture is stronger than marketing


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