By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Gallery 1957 in Accra is currently hosting a passionate exhibition – indeed, a romantic one by Ghanaian figurative / portrait artist Ebenezer Nana Bruce that portray love in its complexity and intensity.
Debatably, love has been an inspiration for artists than any other human emotion, but it equally confronts the artist with challenges on how to describe, depict and respond to love in their work.
Indeed, mythic paintings, based on Greek and Roman legend as well as genre paintings of real people in everyday life, have depicted passions and sensual pleasures as well as anguish and sorrow of gods and mortals deeply infatuated with someone special.
Curated by Elikplim Akorli, paintings on display – which were inspired by a poems – employ extremely dark human figures some of which have blurred faces in a variety of postures – romance in bedrooms, offices, living rooms and bathrooms among others.
With shadows lurking in the backgrounds of his paintings, the artist instinctively imagines love as glamorous, passionate and uncomplicated thereby re-imagining what love can mean while exploring diverse poses.
With acrylics on canvas, the artist employed soft and hard brushes to create different textures to transmit his messages. Indeed, he has captured various moods thereby enabling him to create scenes that engage the critics, writers and art lovers.
Titled “Love Story: Dancing Hearts”, Bruce illuminates shadows, pale bodies and the spaces they inhabit while projecting thoughts and emotions onto the canvas. He further calls on viewers to investigate themselves in a bid to find meaning and resolution to their lives.
Undeniably, our intimate relationships are increasingly defined by models of negotiation and chats through apps like Tinder, which offer a sense of profusion that hollows out our relationships, thereby leading to more selfish behavior and fake online identities.
The exhibition ends on Thursday August 31, 2023.