Adelaide Damoah is a British painter and performance artist of Ghanaian descent who uses her body as the starting point for much of her work. Themes of particular interest include feminism, colonialism, religion and spirituality.
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.
Damoah’s solo exhibitions to date also include Genesis, This is Us, Supermodels, Black Lipstick, and a domestic violence exhibition for the National Centre for Domestic Violence. Performances to date include This is Me the Inconsistency of the Self, My Body is Present, Homage to Ana Mendieta and #MYFACE.
Damoah studied Applied Biology at Kingston University in Surrey, England graduating with honours in 1999.
Damoah worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a medical representative for six years. During that time, Damoah was diagnosed with endometriosis. As a result of the condition she left the industry. She then pursued oil painting.
Damoah's debut exhibition Black Brits was launched in 2006. The exhibition sought to examine the role of race and identity in iconography. The series, through a series of portraits,sought to question whether the race of major British icons as diverse as the Krays and David Beckham was relevant to their given status as icons. They were portrayed with reversed skin colours.
On 6 March 2006, Damoah arranged a demonstration at Parliament Square as part of Endometriosis awareness week with the Endometriosis charity Endometriosis UK. The event was marked by a communal scream by participants followed by a march to 10 Downing Street to hand in a 13,000 signature petition for the Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Damoah's second exhibition was “Supermodels" exhibited at Nolia's Gallery, London in 2008. The series of large oil paintings examined the size zero discussion, which became a popular social debate in 2006. Subsequent exhibitions include "Black Lipstick" in 2008 and "NCDV" in 2009." Damoah was invited to Hungary in 2009 to take part in an exhibition entitled "British Art in the Twenty First Century" at Opera Gallery in Budapest.
In November 2015, Damoah put on the fifth solo exhibition in Camden, London entitled "This is Us."
In October 2018, Damoah launched her sixth solo show entitled Genesis in London with MTArt Agency. Simultaneously referencing and inverting Yves Klein’s 1960 performance Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue, which saw the artist use female participants as malleable ‘printmaking tools’, Damoah has instead assumed the role of living paint brush, using her own body to make painterly gestures, exerting her power as a black female artist. The shift from male director to female protagonist has enabled Damoah to redefine how the black female body is portrayed, deconstructing stereotypes as a means of reconstructing wider socio-cultural narratives. The artist has cited David Hammons and Ana Mendieta as key influences in the production of Genesis.
The exhibition, which comprised paintings, prints and performative works, was accompanied by a dynamic events programme, including a live streamed performance by Adelaide Damoah, democratising the way in which the work is consumed, but also interrogating the complexities of internet culture and how we connect through performance. Though the work itself is complex and multi-faceted, it was built around a minimal palette of black and gold. Speaking of this decision, the artist explained that “black and gold have been used both for aesthetic and metaphorical reasons. Black is evoking skin colour, but also absence as a lived experience. Meanwhile, gold is referring to Ghana's historical source of wealth which gave it its colonial name (Gold Coast).”
Group shows in 2018 included Bonhams "We face Forward!" A celebration of contemporary Ghanaian artists including El Anatsui, Professor Ablade Glover and fellow BBFA Collective member and founder Enam Gbewonyo; BBFA Presents at Tafeta London and Muse, Model or Mistress in London.
Damoah's current work involves using her own body as "a paintbrush of sorts," by covering herself with oil paint and pressing her body onto her painting surface, leaving impressions, or traces of herself behind. Only too aware of the historic hyper-sexualisation of the black female body, Damoah is resolute that this is far from what she wishes to explore in the work. Gender and race are obvious issues which are apparent, however, Damoah maintains that the work is about much more than this. Writing on her painting surfaces using text in English, Twi and Ga, (the latter two being the languages of the artists parents) Damoah expresses a deep desire to connect with her Ghanaian roots, while entering into a conversation about where she fits in as a child of the African Diaspora. The influence of artist Artist Ana Mendieta is apparent in this new work, while direct references in her written text to artist Jean Michele Basquiat, reflect a self-confessed admiration for the artist.
Damoah cites Frida Kahlo as her main artistic influence To date, Damoah has examined social issues in her work including issues regarding race, identity, sexuality, and domestic violence.
Damoah is a founding member of the BBFA Collective and is represented by MTArt Agency.
2019 || “#MYFACE” Visual Diet, Cannes Lions Festival, Cannes
2019 || “This is Me: The Inconsistency of the Self II” Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration, Paris
2019 || “Into the Mind of Coloniser” Forum: Of Hosts & Guests, curated by Katherine Finerty, part of Open Space, Mary Ward House, London
2019 || “My First Harassment” in response to Clemence Vazard, Make Space, Euston, London
2019 || “#MYFACE” Visual Diet, M&C Saatchi, London
2018 || My Body is Present. Homage to Ana Mendieta 1 hour. (third of three parts), London
2018 || “My Body is Present”, 31 hour durational performance (second of three parts), London
2018 || “My Body is Present” Homage to Ana Mendieta 1 hour. (first of three parts, Christie’s Education, London
2018 || Adidas “Calling all Creators” performance Portland Oregon, USA.
2017 || “This is Me: The Inconsistency of the Self” UNFOLD. 3 and 4 October.
2017 || Mami Wata joint performance with Samira Saidi. Nubuke Foundation Ghana.
2013 || Damoah and Summers live painting performance Vibe Gallery, London.
2018 || “Genesis” London
2015 || This is Us. London
2011 || Selection of work Venice
2009 || National Centre for Domestic Violence. London
2008 || Supermodels. London
2008 || Black Lipstick. London
2008 || Black Lipstick and Black Brits. London
2006 || Black Brits. London
2019 || Visual Diet, M&C Saatchi, London 2018 || BBFA Presents, BBFA Collective. TAFETA Gallery, London.
2018 || Muse, Model or Mistress? Gallery Different, London.
2018 || Novo Foundation. From Violence to a Place of Power. A Donor + Funder Movement Building to End Sexual Violence. London.
2018 || Platform Southwark. After Cesaire/Modern Tropiques. London.
2018 || Bonhams. “We Face Forward!” London.
2018 || Little Africa Des Gosses. Marrakesh Off the Tracks. Morocco.
2018 || Gallery of Small Things (Bisi Silva). Dakar Biennale, Senegal.
2017 || Gallery of Small Things ( Bisi Silva). ACDF Festival, Lagos, Nigeria.
2017 || “Article 10.” Amnesty International. London.
2017 || Latham and Watkins. “Sankofa.” BBA (Black British Art) + panellist. London.
2017 || UNFOLD Festival. London.
2017 || “Dispersed.” BBFA Collective + 3 Ghana artists. Nubuke Foundation (+Chale Wote)
2017 || “A Seat at the Table” 198 Gallery, London.
2016 || “Untitled.” + panellist with BBA (Black British Art). Latham Watkins LLP ,London
2016 || UK Youth Charity auction. Canary Wharf, London.
2015 || TEDx Euston. Vision to Reality. BBFA Collective. London.
2015 || AACDD Festival, BBFA Collective. Bargehouse Gallery, Oxo Tower, London.
2011 || Work on permanent display at Hotel Locanda, Venice, Italy
2009 || British Art in the 21st Century. Opera Gallery Budapest Hungary.
2009 || Screen Nation Awards Bafta, Piccadilly, London.
2007 || I2U gallery Ladbrook Grove, London.
2006 || Francophone Space African Arts Portsmouth UK.
2005 || Buffalo film festival Clapham UK.
2018 || Keeping London Creative. Panel discussion. Robert Elms. Urban Village Fete. London.
2018 || Cass Art- Be Smart About Art. London- Working Together – The Opportunities + Challenges of Artist Collectives
2017 || GAFRA, London. Interview host- Art Discussion with Dagmar Van Weegle & Rewa.
2017 || Syracuse University, London. Guest lecturer. Non verbal communication- “This is Me.”
2017 || Nubuke Foundation, Ghana. Chair person “ Is there such a thing as a women’s perspective in art or is art just art?”
2017 || British Library Caribbean In/Securities and Creativity: Diasporic Dialogues. In partnership with Goldsmith’s University. Panellist. ‘The Value of Black British Female Artists in Western Art.’
2017 || Gallery of African Art, Mayfair. Art Discussion Interview host for Marie Genevieve Morin