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March 31, 2022

An artist from Ghana is spearheading Africa’s representation at Artexpo New York

Alfred Addo presents an Afrocentric exhibit inspired by his African roots and cultural heritage.

Alfred Addo has accomplished great things in his 20+ year career as one of Africa’s leading mixed media artists. His biggest achievement is having his prized works of art currently form part of the permanent collection of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Addo will be making his highly anticipated return to New York in April with his latest multidisciplinary collection in “The Art of Recycling” exhibited at Artexpo New York, taking place at Pier 36 in Manhattan, from  April 7 to April 10.  The new exhibition at the leading contemporary and fine art fair next month will mark Alfred’s third appearance at Artexpo New York, following his recent showcase at The Harlem Fine Arts Show in February this year, in celebration of International Women’s Month.

Georgia-based Alfred Addo is well known on the African continent and in his native Ghana for his eclectic and dynamic artworks that capture the spirit of the Ghanaian people while promoting sustainable development through his signature technique that adopts a distinctive multi-layered approach. As an experienced artist, with a career spanning more than two decades, Alfred is known for his unique “Afrocentric” sculptures made out of recycled sawdust, and his bold colorful mixed media paintings that explore intricate themes inspired by his Ghanaian roots. Alfred will be presenting his latest series of work that includes his recycling sculpting technique that depicts Afro-themed figures that are glazed in metallic gold and copper pigments. For the clothes of the female characters portrayed, he adds a hint of bright metallic purple and orange to create a metallic look that is mounted on a black background to accentuate the gold finish.  His signature metallic accents are created from upcycled sawdust, resin and waste plastics, a unique and eco-friendly process that Alfred has perfected over the years.

“My father, who is also an artist, used to take me along to the sawmill to get wood for his work, and there is where I discovered sawdust,” says Alfred.  “I’m fascinated with this material and its presence in all of my works. Not only does sawdust connect me to my artistic past and my family, but it’s also deeply connected to my mission of creating sustainable artworks. The final look of my work has a metallic finish, which is a process of mixing treated sawdust and adhesives that I recycle from waste packaging materials. I source the sawdust freely from the sawmills. Unlike many developed countries where sawdust is recycled, in Ghana, it’s usually burned into the atmosphere or left around in dumps creating a lot of pollution.”

Alfred’s introduction to art came early in his childhood years—watching his father as an artist, who would create beautiful works in his studio at the back of their house in Accra, Ghana, on the western coast of the African continent. This early exposure not only made him driven to create beautiful art but also encouraged Alfred to pursue the entrepreneurial business side of art.

Born in Ghana in 1975 into a family of artists, Alfred’s primary inspiration came from his father, a self-taught artist himself, who challenged him to be different and create his own unique pieces. While passionate about art, he also possessed a keen interest in the physical sciences. After his secondary education, Alfred was torn between going to college to study medicine and pursuing his passion to be a professional artist. He eventually followed his passion and decided to pursue art professionally.

Since then, Alfred has specialized in mixed media and relief sculpture as the core of his profession. His physical science background led him to experiment with different materials, including sawdust, which he played with throughout his childhood at the sawmill where his father bought and cut wood for his sculptures. Alfred grew up loving this medium and decided to make a central part of all his artworks.  While increasingly passionate about the sustainability of the environment and the earth, he perfected this method of recycling sawdust and waste packaging materials to create various types of sculpture and relief works, most of which are now created using environmentally preferred materials as his own contribution towards sustaining the environment for future generations.

Alfred has participated in many art exhibitions and fairs in the U.S. and overseas, receiving international recognition at juried art competitions. Alfred is widely collected in South Africa, where he maintains a studio and has been commissioned by reputable bodies including the Reserve Bank of South Africa, South African Civil Aviation Authority, CSIR, Gauteng Planning and Economic Development Brand South Africa, among other corporate organizations.

Alfred’s latest exhibition can be seen at Booth 137 at Artexpo New York, taking place Thursday, April 7 to Sunday, April 10 at Pier 36 in Manhattan. For further information on Alfred Addo, visit Alfred Addo. For further information on Addo Contemporary Art, visit Addo Contemporary.

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