Emmanuel Taku - New Now London Thursday, April 28, 2022 | Phillips

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  • 'I don’t see my paintings as mere decorative pieces but the experiences and energies around as given flesh.'
    —Emmanuel Taku
    Ghanaian-born Emmanuel Taku’s enthusiasm for fashion is at the core of the artist’s portrait practice. Pronounced paisley patterns and statement colours are proudly worn by Black figures as exemplified in Seen It All, executed in 2020. Taku uses a multitude of textiles to build his collaged images, informed by his training in Textiles and Visual Arts at Ghanatta College of Art and Design. Taku layers newspaper, fabric, and acrylic to create intricately made costumes and characters. The outcome heightens the vivacity of Taku’s own independent style in which prints, and bright floral patterns aid the viewer through fashion so that they are completely transported towards a fantastical and tropical environment.

    Unusually, Seen It All represents a figure whose pupils have been added, whereas Taku’s figures are usually given piercing white eyes that create a 'superhero' effect as exemplified in the striking works completed during his 4-week tenure with The Noldor Residency, a programme established by Joseph Awuah-Darko in Accra, Ghana, to nurture emerging African artists. During his time as the inaugural resident artist of the program, Taku only produced characters with white pupils, whereas this more recent work highlights the development in Taku’s style. The striking addition of pupils in Seen it all must be interpreted in parallel with the title, the act of ‘seeing’ further enhanced by the frontal, and commanding eyes that look directly out at the viewer from beneath the subject’s furrowed brow. Taku’s process reclaims the objectification of Black bodies through the stature and prowess achieved by his well-dressed figures, especially notable here with the domineering pose struck by the subject suavely cloaked in an ornately patterned suit jacket. The outcome affirms a strong identity for the sitter and importantly for Taku, as an artist himself. 

    • Provenance

      Janet Rady Fine Art, London (acquired directly from the artist)
      Blond Contemporary, United Kingdom
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Seen It All

signed, inscribed and dated 'Taku-Scarf 2020' lower centre
paper collage and acrylic on canvas
112 x 66.3 cm (44 1/8 x 26 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

£25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for £56,700

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now
+44 20 7901 7993

New Now

London Auction 28 April 2022