I recently became acquaintances with local artist Ryan Nichole (obnoxiously large, unapologetically black) who put me on to an art show in pilsen called, "Parallel Universe" featuring pieces from two local artists, Eddie "Edo" White & Solomon Adufah. According to the Event Listing, "These two modern powerhouses will showcase a series of new creations in an intimate exhibition that will lead you into a glimpse of the future." I followed Adufah on Ig long before hearing about this exhibition, and immediately fell in love with his vibrant portraits from the moment I tapped "follow." I assumed, because of his huge following, that he was this super-amazing art-ivist Based In Ghana; untouchable and infallible. never did I think he was a Chicago Local; I almost lost my mind when I realized the great adufah was in my backyard! I had to interview him and see what This Ghanaian Philanthropist/Artist was all about. Read my full q&A by Clicking Read more!
Read My full Q&A With Solomon Adufah
Allie: How long have you been an artist? How did you get started?
Adufah: I've been an artist since childhood but I only started painting 6 years ago. Growing up in Ghana with little to no resources, I use to sketch out cartoon characters that I saw on a little black and white tv set powered by a car battery since we didn't have lights in my village
My decision to make art as a career happened after long years of studying architecture while finding my artistic direction.
Allie: What inspired the Homeland series and how do you select your muses?
Adufah: Homeland series was inspired through my personal experience of observation of how the image of Africa is being portrayed and the information beingabsorbed my some people as face value of the depiction of the continent and the different cultures within the respective countries. Africa is seen as a continent of genocide, disease and poverty. My work is vastly based in my travel to the individual countries. I live among the people and learn about their culture. More importantly I serve the community in which i visit. Through that I'm able to select some of the beautiful people i interact with.
Allie: How much have you raised for the Homeland project? Are there other aspects to your philanthropy you wish people knew about?
Adufah: So far, we've managed to raised $1000 for the mission. When i travel for my mission, I set up workshops teaching children about creative art. Something that's very neglected in the school systems. I experience that growing up. I also provide resources for the children to better their living conditions.
Allie: What is the typical day for Solomon Adufah?
Adufah: I generally work out of my studio a lot. Im constantly trying to work on my craft and conceptual ideas.
Allie: How would you describe your overall artistic impact with the Homeland project?
Adufah: Homeland project is my idea of empowering, celebrating and promoting the positivity in the African Culture. As an artist its my duty to spark that dialogue for people to start having conversations about how they view the African Culture and the information they absorb through the media. By my unique style of using vibrant colors, I'm able to convey that depiction on a canvas.
Allie: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to the place you are now with your work?
Adufah: As an artist, i face obstacles and challenges every day. Some are short term and others I just have to deal with. Obstacles i've had to face on my own developing my craft, raising funds for my philanthropic work, and mainly developing my vision and concept.
Allie: Do you believe all art (including performance art) is social or political commentary? That is, does all art have to mean something?
Adufah: I don't think all art have to mean something because then we deprive the idea of having personal interactions with the work. When I put up a work, I don't want to explain to people what it means to me, or what it represents. I want people to formulate their own interactions with the work. I want people to have conversations about how they relate to the work in their own experience if or not they've had one and how they are able to interact with the piece personally. We live in a society in which there are lots of ways to express ones self. How we view it is totally based on our own experience.
Allie: Why do you think darker people of color Everywhere are shown in a negative light? How does the Homeland series alter that perspective for African culture?
Adufah: I believe it comes from a lot of different reason not just one. Through history, our modern society socially and politically, the depiction of Black color has always been looked down upon. I realized that more when I first move to the States through personal experiences. But I will say that its mis education through the system that things are view that way.
Allie: Where do you see the Homeland series in the future? How much of an impact do you think it will have on a long-term scale?
Adufah: I want to continue inspiring the world with my work. I want to continue developing my concept and travel mission. There are so may stories to be told and I want to open up that conversation about how we view and celebrate culture at large.
Allie: What advice would you give to other artists who want to use their work to inspire change?
Adufah: Its worth the journey as long as you are passionate about it. Impossible is nothing.
learn more about "Parallel Universe" and other Chicago Events on the Events Page!