KOJO MARFO AND PANDORA’S BOX.
By Nii B. Andrews.
The pieces have a jolting verve; they appear to be bursting with a frenetic energy.
There is no way one can miss the vibrant urban street ethos – contemporary hip hop, hip life, graffiti culture; primal religion and initiatory rites all appear to be telegraphed and conflated.
Perhaps, it is a vivid reflection of the restless, inquisitive and non- conformist spirit of the Ghanaian born artist, KOJO MARFO.
His biography to date reads like an okada ride at rush hour. It is therefore no surprise that his art appears to open up a Pandora’s Box….full of toli!
And of course, we should debate the significance of what is left in the box…..or is it a jar?
This is how he explains it,
“My work is a reflection of the dark side of the world we live in which we are all trying to cover up, hoping it will just go away.”
He continues, “I don’t paint to scare people, but to express my individuality and the desire to open Pandora’s box.
We all have problems but it seems everyone is happy to talk about the things we don’t understand and ignore the issues we have at home.
Things like that are the motivating factor in a lot of my work.
………..Politics is something I enjoy taking part in. I like debating people in a healthy way, but I think politics is gradually becoming a joke as most politicians are as confused as most of the people who vote for them.”
Some have offered the term, “afro expressionist” to describe his work.
But what does that really mean? Can anyone justify the term?
Is that a dog whistle?
Marfo’s work is rich, multi layered and nuanced.
It contains codes, puns and ideographs from multiple cultures and eras.
Indeed, it opens up a Pandora’s Box of ideas, memes and tropes that should provide a bonanza for those who enjoy and engage in the contemplative life.
Thus, from our mistakes we shall be made wise and not fall for the deceptive expectations of the peanut gallery.