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Adelaide Damoah is both a painter and a performance artist. She utilises body printing techniques as the starting point for both her studio work and performances. In the studio, she combines body prints with text and found photographs to create pieces which tell personal stories of the past and the present. In her performances, Adelaide is in direct conversation with Yves Kleins 1960 Anthropometries performance in which he directed the performance of a group of nude women. In contrast, the artist directs herself to print her body onto white surfaces, remixing the original Klein performance by virtue of her identity, while simultaneously encouraging discussion about female representation, feminism, sexual stereotypes and art history.
Adelaide Damoah uses her body as a tool to paint and perform resulting in body prints. In her performances, Adelaide seeks to engage the audience in a conversation about sexual stereotypes, feminism and specific elements of art history. Her performances are a direct reference to Yves Klein's Anthropométrie de l'époque bleue” performance (1960). In front of an audience, Klein directed naked young women to cover their bodies in his signature blue paint, and print their bodies onto a white surface. Klein selected women who would have been considered the feminine ideal, ultimately creating, in Adelaide's opinion, "passive female bodies, ripe for objectification and sexualization by the male gaze." In her studio works, Adelaide references the body print techniques of David Hammons as well as Yves Klein to start her work process. After completing the body prints, she uses found images, text and gold to explore personal family history, which ultimately leads to a wider exploration of the history of Britain in the context of its colonial past with Ghana.
Having agency and control over the way she presents herself and her work is essential. When performing, Adelaide presents in a way that is devoid of sexuality to remove the possibility of objectification despite being nude- a contradiction to the way in which Klein instructed his models to perform. Adelaide is a black female, operating in a space where she is a minority and where European standards for beauty are the norm. In this society, the black female body has a heavy load of history to carry in terms of sexual stereotypes and resulting objectification or de-sexualization- meaning that depending on ones physical characteristics, it is possible to find oneself placed into a either a box which sexually objectifies you based on a particular stereotype or into a box which completely de-sexualises you, with not much scope for just being who you are. She aims to confront these issues through her performances.
Adelaide has exhibited internationally including Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Hungary and Italy. Her solo exhibitions to date include This is Us, Supermodels, Black Lipstick, and a domestic violence
exhibition for registered charity, the National Centre for Domestic Violence.
Damoah’s debut exhibition entitled Black Brits, took place in 2006 in Charlie Allen’s Boutique, Islington, London, UK and received some media attention. It was featured on BBC News, Channel 5 News and other regional and local media outlets in the UK.
Adelaide is currently working on a project for Autumn 2018.This will be a solo show to be presented alongside UNFOLD festival. Using a limited palette of 24 carat gold and a range of black pigments and paint, the project is an expansion of her current practice and will further engage with the body printing techniques of David Hammons, while still directly referencing Yves Klein. The colour black represents the absence of colour. True black absorbs all light until you are left staring into a void. By using black, Adelaide is thinking about the visibility and invisibility of all women and the perfection of the imperfect. Gold is a direct link to the history of Britain and Ghana, the political link between China and Africa and ultimately capitalism, consumerism and excess.
Future work will focus on the continual expansion and unification of both sides of Adelaide's practice- her studio and performance work. In her studio work, she seeks to present alternate and inclusive female based stories of the past and present. Her performances will continue to explore the conversation around representations of women, race, feminism, Klein and the interaction she has with her audience. For Adelaide, painting is performance and performance is painting, and she will continue to explore these ideas through deep investigation of her own practice and art historical research.
WIA, 12th October 2018
Adelaide Damoah is a British artist of Ghanaian descent. Damoah’s current practice involves using her body as a printing tool with oil paint as a medium, later adding images and text to the work. She is inspired by a desire to subvert Yves Klein’s “Anthropométrie” series. Damoah engages in live performances of the first part of her creative process- body printing and writing. ...
Aesthetica Magazine, 23rd April 2018
Adelaide Damoah is a British artist of Ghanaian descent whose earlier work combined African and Western influences while highlighting social issues. Her current practice involves using her body as a “living paintbrush” to paint or print onto various surfaces. Damoah discusses her series.
A: You use your body as a tool to paint – the resulting compositions utilise a sense of performance. How did you develop this method and who are you inspired by? ...
Cass Art, 10th April 2018
Adelaide Damoah is a British artist of Ghanaian descent whose earlier work combined African and Western influences while highlighting social issues. A founding member of the BBFA (Black British Female Artists Collective), her current practice involves using her body as a “living paintbrush” to paint or print onto various surfaces. We caught up with Adelaide to find out more about her practice…