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Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa…20 young African creatives to know
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Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa…20 young African creatives to know
The Africa Report January 27, 2023

Gideon Appah is a Ghanaian artist living and working in Accra. His paintings feature dream landscapes and times that imbue elements of fantasy. According to his bio, he “prioritises atmosphere and the exploration of memory over faithful reproduction,” lending his works a surreal and expressionist feel. He is a painter aware of the potency of symbolism and references, and he intelligently deploys them in his paintings, scouted from sources as varied as personal memories, pop culture, film, black portraiture, colonial archives, Western classical art, and religion. His work has been shown in Accra, New Mexico, New York, Toronto, and has been acquired by the Absa Museum in Johannesburg, the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden in Marrakesh, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

The Top 10 Shows in the US of 2022
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The Top 10 Shows in the US of 2022
Frieze December 16, 2022

Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah made his US institutional debut with ‘Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes’ at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. His paintings hum with a surreal energy. His figures, Simon Wu writes, come across as ‘ghosts of clubbers in some primordial land’; certain paintings draw on myth, and incorporate symbols that evoke tarot or shamanic imagery. The influence of Black portraitists is palpable: men clad in white suits recall figures in the paintings of Barkley L. Hendricks, for example. ‘Produced quickly and at high volume,’ Wu writes, ‘the works have a provisional, immediate quality reminiscent of digital engagement.’ Indeed, Appah has drawn on a rich array of demotic sources for the newly-commissioned works in this exhibition, with characters culled from Ghanaian movies and Appah’s friends, set in locations that are sometimes ambiguous – as in the constellation-cum-nightclub of Remember Our Stars (2020) – and sometimes specific, as in Ghana’s famed Roxy Theatre in Roxy 2 (2020–21).

An Interview With Gideon Appah, Ghana's Buzziest Young Artist
Press
An Interview With Gideon Appah, Ghana's Buzziest Young Artist
Air Mail July 23, 2022

Gideon Appah is a master of romance. The Accra-based artist creates landscapes full of atmospheric elements: clouds, stars, expanses of desert—realms that have been described as “primordial” and “post-apocalyptic.” He populates these spaces with contemplative and unknown figures, perfectly poised members of the canvas who hang out or drift through. Appah first started working with Ghanaian newspaper clippings, but now he paints on layered canvas, a technique that sees him coloring from dark to light rather than from light to dark. The result is a muted, strangely disembodied color palette, one that seems to exist somewhere between heaven and earth. The modest and affable Appah, now 34, is making a splash in the art world. In 2022, he’s received solo shows at Ghana’s esteemed Gallery 1957 and the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. With an exhibition of Appah’s recent works having opened last week at the Triennale in Milan, AIR MAIL catches up with Ghana’s hottest young artist.

Gideon Appah’s Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes: Remembering and Remaking
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Gideon Appah’s Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes: Remembering and Remaking
Contemporary And June 21, 2022

When I looked at Gideon Appah’s paintings in his solo exhibition Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes at the Institution for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, I found gestures toward many things – with the dourness of his palette, the figures in suits smoking, the shy front-facing nude, the nude woman wielding daggers with her back turned to us, the dying (or dead) figure. In these portraits and other figurative paintings, there are allusions to Ghanaian cinema, with references to films like The Boy Kumasenu (1952) and I Told You So (1970). Paintings of landscapes and neighborhoods evoke the heyday of entertainment and film in Ghana, which spanned the 1950s to the early 1980s. And paintings of nudes leave us more than a little curious not only as to their stories but to the place of the individual against the disintegration of cultural memory.

The Best Shows to See in the US This June
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The Best Shows to See in the US This June
Frieze May 27, 2022

For his first institutional solo show in the US, ‘Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes’ at ICA VCU, Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah presents a series of newly commissioned, large-scale canvases. In the first gallery, Red Valley and Ten Nudes and a Landscape (both 2021) depict hazy, magma-like landscapes onto which the silhouettes of various figures – dancing, reclining – have been lightly superimposed. They might be the ghosts of clubbers in some primordial land, or visions of future party-goers in a post-apocalyptic world.

What Dreams May Come
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What Dreams May Come
Style Weekly May 25, 2022

Gideon Appah’s “Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes” at the ICA looks at death, myth and reality impacted by the pandemic. “Gideon started his career thinking about the rise and fall of culture, leisure and democracy in Ghana,” says Amber Esseiva, curator at the ICA. “He was looking at how that is reflected in news media.”

Gideon Appah’s Fascination With the Fragmented Body
Press
Gideon Appah’s Fascination With the Fragmented Body
FRIEZE May 12, 2022

For his first institutional solo show in the US, ‘Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes’ at ICA VCU, Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah presents a series of newly commissioned, large-scale canvases. In the first gallery, Red Valley and Ten Nudes and a Landscape (both 2021) depict hazy, magma-like landscapes onto which the silhouettes of various figures – dancing, reclining – have been lightly superimposed. They might be the ghosts of clubbers in some primordial land, or visions of future party-goers in a post-apocalyptic world. Alongside these works hang three smaller paintings of mythic nudes: gods to occupy these otherworldly scenes, perhaps. Appah’s figures are usually composites of friends, characters from popular Ghanaian films and chance acquaintances. These paintings, which mark a departure from his earlier work about Ghanaian nightlife, increasingly incorporate shamanic or tarot-like symbols: The Young Minotaur (2021), for instance, who looks pensively off into the distance across a stormy sky, two fleshy skin-tone horns sprouting from his head. 

Gideon Appah Explores Ghanian Cultural Memory at The Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU
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Gideon Appah Explores Ghanian Cultural Memory at The Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU
Widewalls March 1, 2022

In recent times, Gideon Appah explored the Ghanaian cultural memory through a series of portraits expressed through paintings, drawings and media ephemera. The primary source of inspiration was the legacy of the country’s film production from the 1950s to the 1980s. By employing entertainment posters, newspaper clippings, and films from the period, Appah has created a vibrant tableau that commemorates the cinema and leisure.

Spring Has Sprung: Brilliant Things To Do in March
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Spring Has Sprung: Brilliant Things To Do in March
AnOther March 1, 2022

Ascendent Ghanian artist Gideon Appah is currently enjoying his first institutional solo show at The ICA at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. A plethora of new paintings, drawings and media ephemera make up the display, which aims to “chronicle the cycle of Ghana’s cultural memory – from heyday to bygone”. Appah has drawn on archive newspaper clippings, posters and films for the purpose, resulting in a series of dreamy, gesturally rendered tableaux that consider “the rise and fall of Ghana’s cinema and leisure culture”.

The Road to Accra
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The Road to Accra
Richmond Magazine January 18, 2022

Artist Gideon Appah’s story begins with homemade comic books of dinosaurs living among people and the adventures of Night Man, his very own masked crusader. "He fought for justice, kind of like Superman or Batman," Appah says via teleconference from Ghana.

In a relatively short career, the West African painter has gone through many different stylistic phases, exploring — and combining — surrealism, nature scenes and portraiture. The 35-year-old rising star will have his first solo U.S. exhibition at the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU this year from Feb. 11 to June 19. More than 30 of his paintings, most of them new works, will be showcased on both sides of the museum's upstairs gallery.

5 Art Gallery Shows to See Right Now
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5 Art Gallery Shows to See Right Now
The New York Times November 27, 2020

Cecily Brown’s new paintings, Sam Gilliam’s sculptures and monochromes, Gideon Appah’s otherworldly vistas, Tishan Hsu’s first museum survey and works from the Purvis Young trove.