Hamid Nii Nortey: Cross Hatching Affluence


 

Nortey invites his viewers to step into the lush narratives of Ghana's glamorous and successful; adding his voice to the new age of artists who are working tirelessly to change how people of the Black race are depicted through art.


 

On view from May 6 – June 16, 2021, Hamid Nii Nortey’s new series of glamorous urban scenes bear witness to Africa’s transforming urban landscape and to its burgeoning middle classes, thereby reclaiming ownership over prevailing narratives of poverty and war.

 

An emerging artist based in Accra, Hamid Nii Nortey has stood witness to the city’s considerable transformation in recent decades – one that has materialized in its expansion and architectural development and in the social dynamics that have emanated from it. Looking to the inhabitants of the city as reflections of these changes, Cross Hatching Affluence is a visual snapshot onto the growing middle- and upper-class elite that has come to represent an increasing share of Accra, as well as Ghana and the broader African continent’s population. A testament to the extensive socioeconomic and industrial development of post-Independence Ghana, the paintings move away from prevailing tropes of war, poverty and disease as they often relate to the continent. Shifting from the less fortunate to the flourishing middle class, Nortey reclaims ownership over this visual narrative, thereby leading the way for new voices and narratives from the continent to emerge.

 

At once mimicking and interpreting the rich fabric of Accra’s cityscape, Nortey’s paintings depict sweeping urban scenes of expansive buildings and interior scenes. Fascinated by the spatial structures, Nortey indulges viewers into experiencing physical space on a flat surface – rendering exterior and interior architecture as a pivotal structural element to his work. Adopting an architectural lens, he investigates the peculiar language of composition through lines. With a complex interplay of linear contrast and harmony, and with parallel lines converging in a vanishing point, Nortey builds on perspective as a crucial element in bringing the works to life and emulating the city’s bustling urban life.