Category Archives: Exhibition



These new paintings were made in the UK in lockdown after repatriation from Ghana in May. Because of border closures in Ghana, we stayed two months longer than intended, mostly in Ho without a studio. So I went for walks around the town in the Volta Region (masked and gloved) and studied kiosks through drawing and photographing them and, when allowed to do so, by taking measurements.

It was not until I got back to the UK that I was able to paint, and that was after two weeks of self-isolation. I did a lot of reading, and thinking about what we had gone through: only when the sun came out did I feel in the right frame of mind to start working in our attic studio (our rented studio in town was in shutdown). Then I painted directly without too much editing or reworking. It felt good to be painting again despite all that was going on around us. The works on paper, formatted on the square, preempt and inform the later oil paintings.

Atta Kwami 

Loughborough, 30 June 2020. 

PRINTS IN COUNTERPOINT by Atta Kwami, Liverpool World Museum






In the Summer of 2014 Atta Kwami travelled to Liverpool to see the Mondrian exhibition at Tate Liverpool, and the Dazzle Ship in the Albert Dock; he also visited the World Museum to look at the collection in their World Cultures gallery. After meeting up with Dr. Zachary Kingdon, Curator of African Collections, they talked about the possibility of a small exhibition within the galleries. Atta Kwami wanted to draw objects on display. Later Zachary Kingdon asked if he might also like to draw some works from the collections in storage. Atta Kwami was very enthusiastic and returned to Liverpool to make studies of brass gold weights from Ghana, silver jewellery from the Sahara, beadwork from East Africa, Nigerian ankle ornaments and carved wooden utensils from Central Africa.

Initially Atta Kwami thought of making a suite of etchings but finally decided to make a series of linoleum cuts in order to produce densely, multi-coloured prints that would have a similar resonance to his paintings. Linoleum cutting, or lino cuts, is a relief method of printing like woodcuts in which the negative areas are cut away and read as white and the remaining positive areas take the ink, when inked up with a roller, and print as black or colour.

Atta Kwami cut various shapes and inked them individually and put them together rather like a patchwork or a jig-saw to make a multi-coloured baseprint; then he printed another block over it. This second block was intricately cut in such a way as to reveal areas of under-printings in some areas and over-printing in others. This way he quickly multiplied the number of possible colour combinations. Kwami’s work has an affinity with the rich traditions of West African design, more specifically, textiles and architecture.




Prints in Counterpoint – A suite of 16 linocuts, Liverpool Counterpoint (1-16)


Printed by Pamela Clarkson and Atta Kwami in 2014.


Dimensions: 50 x 33 cm; ink on BFK Rives paper.


Edition number: 5




The exhibition is curated by Dr. Zachary Kingdon, Curator of African Collections,


Liverpool World Museum, William Brown Street,


Liverpool L3 8EN


United Kingdom



AK_LC_11 AK_LC_13 AK_LC_14 AK_LC_15 AK_LC_16

Text and images

© Atta Kwami 2014