Zohra Opoku

Works

Zohra Opoku, Sassa, installation view at Gallery 1957, Accra, Photo by Zohra Opoku, courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957

 

Zohra Opoku (b. 1976, German/Ghanaian) based in Accra examines political, historical, cultural, and socio-economic influences in the formation of personal identities, particularly in the context of contemporary Ghana. Her practice centers around textiles and traditional Ghanaian dress codes, which have been an inherent part of the country’s identity and industry throughout West Africa’s complex history and serve as vehicles for her to connect to the abstraction of identity in a tangible way.

Opoku's research and explorations have been mostly carried out through the lens of her camera; her photography is expressed via screen-printing and alternative photo processing on varieties of natural fabrics manufactured abroad and distributed in Africa to be re-used as Western Second Hand trade products found on the local market. Additionally, she experiments with new and found wood as well as textiles and garments used in different manifestations of ‘site’-specific installations.

While her work relays social commentary and broad themes relating to the human experience, each of Opoku’s explorations is intimately rooted in personal identity politics. She repeatedly integrates family heirlooms and her own self-image into her visual observations of Ghana’s cultural memory.

Exhibited internationally, Zohra Opoku has shown work in association with Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle (now Chicago); Broad Art Museum, (Michigan State University); Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Sean Kelly, New York; Gallery 1957, Accra; Nubuke Foundation, Accra; Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos; !Kauru African Contemporary Art, Johannesburg; Kunsthaus Hamburg; Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth; Musée d’ Ethnographie, Bordeaux; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Kunsthal, Rotterdam, and the Insititute of the Arab World, Paris.

Her recent residencies took place at Jan van Eyck Institute Maastricht 2014; Kala Institute Berkeley 2015; Institute Sacatar Salvador da Bahia 2016 and Art Dubai Residents 2018.

CV

Born 1976, Altdöbern, Former GDR

Based in Accra

Exhibitions (selected)

2018

  • Monumental Riso, Biennial Magical Riso, Jan Van Eyck, Maastricht
  • The Collection, Gallery 1957, Accra
  • Ravelled Threads, Sean Kelly, New York
  • Harmattan Tales, Solo Show, Mariane Ibrahim, Seattle
  • In Their Own Form, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago

2017

  • Back Stories, Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle
  • Favt, National Museum Nairobi, Aga Khan Hall, Nairobi
  • Room With Its Own Rules, Chamber Gallery, NY
  • Being Her(e), Constitution Hill, Johannesburg
  • Nathi.Ana.Sasa/Us.Here.Now, Guest Curator, Wiener Festwochen, Vienna

2016

  • Draped Histories, Solo Show, Kruger Gallery Chicago
  • Sassa, Solo Show, Gallery 1957, Accra
  • Africa Forecast, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta
  • Future Ports of Entry, Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth


2015

  • He Doesn't Have Anything On, Commune.1, Capetown
  • Material Effects, Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, Michigan
  • Remember to Come Back, Mariane Ibrahim, Seattle
  • Future Africa: Visions In Time, Iwalewahaus Bayreuth
  • Designing Futures, LagosPhoto Festival, Lagos
  • Wow Print, WOW, Amsterdam

2014

  • The Billboard Project, Solo show in Public Space, Accra
  • Magincal Riso, Jan van Eyck Institute, Maastricht
  • ...Do Delay, Public show by Pick Nick, Nicosia
  • Masked/ Unmasked, DAK´ART 11th Biennial, St.Louis
  • Paroles De Femmes, Alliance Francaise, Accra

2013

  • Healing the Environment and the Creative Arts Symposium, Institute for African Studies, Legon, Accra
  • Virtual Material, Musée de l´Ethnographie, Bordeaux
  • Post No Bill, Solo Show, Jamestown Community Theatre Centre, Accra
  • Virtual Material, Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth
  • Attitude., Costumes & Visuals for Interactive Performance Installation Infecting the City Festival, Cape Town

2015-ongoing
MAKING AFRICA Touring Exhibition:
2019 Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, USA
2018 Albuquerque Museum, New Mexico, USA
2017 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA
2016 Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona(CCCB), Spain Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherland
2015 Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany

2009-2012
PRÈT-À-PARTAGER Touring Exhibition:
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2012
ifa Gallery Berlin & Stuttgart, Germany 2012
Nubuke Foundation Accra, Ghana 2011
City Hall Cape Town, South Africa 2011
CCA, AAF & YabaTech Lagos, Nigeria 2010
Fortaleza Maputo, Mozambique 2010
Le Mànege, Dakar, Senegal 2009

Grants and Fellowships

2020 - Upcoming

  • Triangle Art Association, Artist Residency, Brooklyn, NY (US)
  • New Roots Foundation / La Nueva Fábrica, Artist Residency, Antigua (GT)

2018

  • Art Dubai Residence, Artist Residency @ Tashkeel studios (UE)

2017

  • The Armory Show Present booth prize winner 2017, NY (US)

2016

  • Sacatar Artist residency, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil (BR)

2015

  • Kala Institute, Fellowship Award, Berkeley (CA)
  • Research Residency,Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth (DE)
  • Artist Residency, Bagfactory, Johannesburg(ZA)

2014

  • Artist Residency, Jan van Eyck Institute, Maastricht (NL)
  • The Billboard Project, Project Funding, Goethe Institute + Alliance Francaise (GH),
  • Institute For Foreign Cultural Relations (DE)

2013

  • Moving Africa(ZA), Visiting grant for Salon Urbain de Douala (CM)
  • Project Funding Accra, Alliance Francaise + Goethe Institute (GH)

2012

  • Artist Residency, Art OMI, Ghent, NY (US)

2008-2012

  • PRET-À-PARTAGER, Aktion Afrika, German Cultural Fund

2009

  • KNUST, The Curio Kiosk Project & Symposium, Funding by Institute For Foreign Cultural Relations Germany

News

Publications

Zohra Opoku, Sassa
Exhibition Catalogue, 2016

View publication

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