Modern & Contemporary African Art | and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction

Modern & Contemporary African Art | and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 25. Nkabom 2.

Isshaq Ismail

Nkabom 2

Lot Closed

March 22, 03:25 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 GBP

Lot Details


Isshaq Ismail



Nkabom 2

signed (lower left)

acrylic on canvas

151.5 by 125.5cm., 59½ by 49½in.

framed: 156 by 130.5cm., 61½ by 51¼in.

Private Collection, Asia

Acquired from the above by the present owner

"I am interested in breaking the mould of painting by subverting and interrogating the preconceived notion of the idea of beauty within the canon of painting, primarily figurative painting, and challenging the perception of aesthetics.

"Desire, longing, wonderment, strength, resilience, power, Joy and hope can be seen in the face and figures of my work. I employ thick, loose, flat and cryptic gestural brushstrokes of Acrylic paint without inhibition, fear or conformity, like the way a sculptor sculpts human figures from clay, I sculpt my figures with the brush. I describe my vibrant, boldly coloured, thickly impastoed figuration as "Infantile semi-abstraction"

"The images I create become metaphors of people's sentiments and also serve as protagonists to represent the masses and advocate for the voiceless. Not trash, but people. Not remnants, but lives - look closer and they will tell you their stories."

Ghanaian artist Isshaq Ismail is known for bold, colourful paintings that explore how the social, cultural and political attitudes and conditions of contemporary life impact identity. In a style that he describes as “infantile semi-abstraction,” Ismail paints grotesquely accentuated faces and figures in vivid impasto. Employing thick, gestural brushstrokes, the artist has described his process in sculptural terms, using his brush to manipulate paint in the same way a sculptor might shape clay. Through these striking and evocative works, he aims to subvert and interrogate canonical ideas of beauty; explore themes of desire, resilience, power and hope; and, in his own words, “represent the masses and advocate for the voiceless”.

Ismail was born in 1989 in Accra, Ghana. Since graduating from Ghanatta College of Arts and Design in 2012, he has exhibited in both his native Ghana and internationally in New York, Miami, London, Dubai and Cape Town. In 2015 and ’16, Ismail was shortlisted for the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art, and in 2016, was honoured as one of the Top 100 finalists at the Barclays L’Artelier Art Competition in Johannesburg. In 2019, he was shortlisted for the GUBA USA Influential Artist Award. Ismail currently lives and works in Accra, Ghana.