Pabi Daniel Challenges The Tradition Of Western History Through Abstract Portraiture

ArtPlugged, November 7, 2022

"For decades, Ghanaian artists have captivated the art world with exceptional creativity and artistry, establishing the African continent as a nidus for discovering talent. If we take the affluent estimate of £650,000 to £850,000 at Sotheby's for artistic magnate El Anatsui's works as an indication, it appears that the future is bright for Ghana's younger contemporaries. A prognosis that encircles Ghanaian artist Pabi Daniel, at twenty-three, he is already on the cusp of greatness.


Drawing influence from contemporary Ghanaian masters and digital animation, he seeks to subvert the canon of Western art history, the painters and their muses. Employing an elevated yet abstract approach to this critical genre in art history, he engages in conversations of identity, cultural expression and representation. Depicting anonymous young black men and women, including his heroes, to challenge the traditional narratives to create a place for them in the historical canon.


Daniel’s abstract portraits are stunningly intricate; his figures poise with a cartoonish countenance, their empathy highlighted by sculptural layers and silky washes of paint. That seems to radiate an aura of mystery, igniting viewers’ curiosity. Following the success of his exhibition in Paris with Anne Villepoix earlier this year, Daniel presents a series of new works for his first UK solo exhibition with Ed Cross, a gallery championing African art and artists for thirteen years.


Daniel’s compelling eloquence has earned him recognition and swiftly put him on the path to becoming one of the most promising young artists to expend close attention to as he rises through the ranks of contemporary art."