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Three Ghanaians make art power 100 list


Three Ghanaian artists whose work is shaping the global contemporary art scene have made it into a top 100 power list for 2023.

Ibrahim Mahama - sourced from ArtReview
Ibrahim Mahama - sourced from ArtReview

ArtReview’s Power 100 is one of the most established and widely circulated annual index of influence in the contemporary artworld.


This year, artist Ibrahim Mahama was ranked sixth in the list - a significant jump from last year where he ranked 47th in the ArtReview’s 2022 Power 100 List.


Other top Ghanaian achievers were London-based visual artist, filmmaker and writer John Akomfrah CBE who ranked 33rd, and painter and writer Lynette Yiadom-Boakye who ranked 47th on the list. Her work has contributed to the renaissance in painting the Black figure.


The top spot went to American artist Nan Goldin, whose work has been lauded for its activism and for amplifying the voices of the ignored and excluded.

Nan Goldin
Nan Goldin - sourced from ArtReview

"Artists make up the list’s entire top ten for the first time in its history, all of them sharing a common cause of not simply making work for museums and galleries, but also using their status to champion and effect wider social change,” a spokesperson from ArtReview said.


Ibrahim Mahama’s work

Mahama's position in the top-ten slot this year is testament to his work and recognition.


Mahama’s work includes the tapestry ‘Tale of Time/Purple Republic (2023) and his influence extends through the multifaceted institutions he operates near his home city of Tamale: Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art, Red Clay Studio and Nkrumah Volini.


Mahama’s 'A Tale of Time/Purple Republic (2023)' features handwoven smocks, was one of the most spectacular commissions of the Sharjah Biennial.


The Bienal de São Paulo’s curators used Parliament of Ghosts (2019) – a field of clay vessels, a forum of brick-constructed bleachers and a long stretch of Ghana’s colonial-era railway tracks – to introduce their anti-imperialist agenda.


A different iteration of the work, made from old train seats, was a major feature of the Venice Architecture Biennale, while KWAKU MINOONA (2012–19).


It features bartered cloth from Ghanaian markets, could be found at Art Basel. Having judged the Samdani Art Award in Dhaka in February, he had a whole biennale to play with as artistic director of the 35th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts in September.


Powerful messages

Also noted in the list were Steve McQueen, ranked eight, whose film about the Grenfell Tower disaster, as a catalyst for legislative change.

Steve McQueen - sourced from ArtReview
Steve McQueen - sourced from ArtReview

Award-winning artist Yinka Shobinare CBE, whose work explores contemporary cultural and national identities ranked 70th. Meanwhile, artist and curator Azu Nwagbogu, who recently curated a solo exhibition by Yaw Owusu at Gallery 1957 in Accra, ranked 87th.


The full list of ranked individuals and collectives can be found here: artreview.com/power-100


Background

ArtReview was founded in 1949 and is one of the world’s leading international contemporary art magazines, dedicated to expanding contemporary art’s audience and reach. The ArtReview Power 100 was first published in 2002.


Ruangrupa topped the list in 2022, ERC-721, representing NFTs, in 2021, Black Lives Matter in 2020 and MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry in 2019.


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