While many painters choose to recreate the stationary people or objects around them, artist Betty Acquah captures life in action. She utilizes swatches of vibrant color and mesmerizing patterns to illustrate the rhythm and beauty of dances in her native Ghana.
Acquah's distinct style resembles both the expressive dabs of paint from Van Gogh and the precise pointillism of Seurat. Her carefully curated color palette is applied onto the canvas with thick rectangular brushstrokes, traveling around the figures and towards the edges of the canvas. As a result, these vivid vortexes communicate the energy of the figures in mid-motion. “The background echoes the movement of figures and therefore create(s) a pulsating surface that brings the composition alive,” she says. “By extending dabs of color in the subject matter into the background and vice-versa, an illusion of movement is created.”
All of the figures in Acquah's paintings wear traditional clothing that ties in with their performances; however, their faces blend into the bursts of color. In doing so, the artist emphasizes the fact that these dancers are in the midst of their routine. “Women are the unsung heroines of the Ghanaian Republic,” explains Kuaba Gallery, who represents the artist in the United States. “The images she depicts tell of ordinary women working courageously towards a greater Ghana.”
You can view Acquah's paintings in person at the Kuaba Gallery in Carmel, Indiana.