It would be hard to forget the day I chanced on Solomon’s Instagram account. His breath-taking paintings and inspiring caption stories had me glued to his page. From one picture to another I watched and read. His paintings emitted strong rays of inspiration which I couldn’t help but inhale to take action. Such a rare display of talent!
His consistent, diligent and hardworking nature towards his skill has inspired me a lot. It got me pondering on these like; how dedicated and consistent am I with my writings? Do I show enough diligence towards my writing career?
Solomon Adufah was born in Ghana (West Africa) and currently lives in Chicago. His discipline of art is portrait based with very vibrant colors. His portrait paintings capture expressions and emotions of his subjects. More importantly, it celebrates culture and tradition through the unique lives of the individuals he uses as subjects. More often, Africa is portrayed negatively through mass media. Africa is usually referred as disease infested rampant wars or poverty. Celebrating the culture and tradition of the native people is his way of sharing their wonderful stories with the world.
One thing that got moved me to write about him was the fact that he wasn’t just painting and displaying them on Instagram but actually using his arts to impact the lives of less privileged children in Africa through his ‘homeland series’. That spirit of looking back to impact on the lives of people of where you come from is priceless. He reminds me of Ato Ulzen-Appiah.
With ‘homeland series’,he travels to African countries to help underprivileged children in local communities, provides them with resources and uses his talent to teach creative studies workshops. He was in Ghana twice last year (2015) and extended his philanthropic mission to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan just this summer. This initiative has brought so much joy in the hearts of many children despite their living conditions.He finds inspiration during his travels to make new paintings.
I went one- on- one with him and he shares it all in this short interview. Kindly find it below:
MB: At what age did you discover your talent and what smart decisions and values have helped you come this far?
SA: I’ve always loved drawing since childhood. It started as a hobby but although I didn’t have much resources then, I was very passionate about it. I always found myself sketching all the time growing up. I only started painting about 7 years ago when I decided to pursue art as a career. What has helped me over the years is staying true and consistent with my craft. Once I found my purpose with my artistry the most important thing i did was working hard and staying consistent in that growth.
MB: Tell us a bit about how life in Odumasi was for you back then. Share a childhood (art) memory you vividly remember.
SA: I have great vivid memories of my childhood living in the village of Odumasi. We didn’t have electricity then so things were very difficult and life was much slower. For much of my childhood, I was raised by my grandmother since my mother was then based in the US. As far as my artistic talent is concern, I remember using my uncle’s taxi car battery to power up a small black and white tv set just to watch cartoons. This was how I became familiar with characters that I used in my sketches. I loved watching Scooby Doo. After school, I spent much of my day doing illustrations of the characters. By nightfall, I was only able to use an old lantern as a source of light to sketch but I really enjoyed it. All the children I grew up with loved my drawings.
MB: Which media have you/ your work been featured on so far?
MB: How does the future of the ‘homeland series’ look like in 5 years to come?
SA: My goal is to continue my path of growth to not only expand on my series but also inspire a generation of young African children who also aspire to be artists.
That is a key part of why I enjoy giving back through philanthropy. I believe that the children can live their dreams beyond the scope of their environment and express their imaginations.
MB: What are your major challenges so far with the homeland series and how you have been able to solve them?
SA: As a young artist in general, one of the key challenges is being able to maintain a balance with working in the studio and the business aspect of the work. Over the years I’ve learned to use my resources to network while still able to focus on my craft.
MB: Inspire us in a quote
SA: Every child is born an artist. Then problem is how to remain an artist once we grow – Pablo Picasso
What are you doing to touch the lives of others? Share with us in the comments.
Facebook: Adufah Arts
Instagram: Solomon Adufah