Kwesi O Kwarteng

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Kwesi O. Kwarteng is a contemporary fabric artist based in Newark NJ. He dyes canvases using multiple dying techniques and combines them with textiles from different cultures to create abstract pieces. Starting off as a painter, Kwesi approaches his work like he would his paintings. He considers the fabrics as the paint he uses in making these works and the sewing(by hand and/or machine) as the brush that brings them together. By combining these assorted cultural fabrics with the dyed canvases, Kwesi attempts to represent his view of the world as an immigrant living in the United States. Over the last decade immigration has become a major part of the socio-political discourse of many developed countries. Be it the emigration of Mexicans to America, the Syrians or North Africans heading towards Europe, or the emigration from east to the west in search of high paying jobs in the tech world. There is anxiety on both sides. Anti-immigration and xenophobia is very prevalent today, he seeks to address this through his work. The goal? to champion multiculturalism.

As a Ghanaian, kwesi appreciates what one wears. It is a very essential part of the culture. It could tell if one is morning or if one is joyous, If one has survived a tragedy or if one is going through a trial. Fabric is an unspoken language that identifies its users. By combining them, he is bringing together what makes these different cultures who they are.

Kwesi has a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY; he’s had two solo shows and taken part in several group exhibitions. His works are in private collections in the US, Germany,Ghana, Costa Rica. He is a recent recipient of the creative catalyst grant award.

Selected Works