George Afedzi Hughes' work uses the history of colonialism as a basis to highlight parallels between colonialism’s brutal history and contemporary global conflicts. In today’s informational age, global occurrences of violence reach us instantaneously: transmitting fear and unease unlike any age before us. His work interprets the spectacle of news, history and social engagement into visual form, by appropriating imagery from global popular culture such as music, sports and ritual. Hughes revisits the harsh realities of colonialism through metaphor in ways we can relate to, using a broader global perspective.
Born in Ghana, George Afedzi Hughes studied painting at The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, College of Art, where he earned a BA in Art and an MA in Art Education. After graduation he spent two years in France and England painting, exhibiting, visiting museums and galleries. The artworks created during this tour cumulated in a major solo exhibition at The Artists Alliance Gallery in Accra, Ghana. Shortly after Hughes’ settled in the United States where he received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Bowling Green State University. Since then he has had a worldwide exhibition record and has taught in universities throughout the United States. His paintings, performances, and installations have been shown internationally in Canada, China, Denmark, Dubai, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Holland, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Uruguay, Wales and the United States.
Master of Fine Arts, Painting, Drawing Minor.
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH. USA.
Master of Arts, Art Education.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Bachelor of Arts, Painting, Drawing Minor.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Solo Exhibitions / Performance Art
Recent Works, Malone Gallery, Troy University, Troy, Alabama, USA. Survey exhibition of recent paintings and installations.
Collisions [amp], Indigo Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Addressed the psychological echoes of cultural deterioration through metaphors populated with vehicles, war machinery, body parts and historical/current iconography.
Crime Dots, Centre des Arts, Contemporains du Quebec, Montreal. A generic interpretation ofcrime statistics in major cities using color-coded dots to indicate various crime locations
Collisions, Skoto Gallery, NY, NY. Paintings and installation which reference war machinery, military uniforms with epaulettes, automobiles, colonial / historical references.
Muffled Connections, Performing Arts Forum, St Erme, France, Installation in a former C19th convent, now an art residency referenced the emergence of dynamic communication social systems.
Fragments, Buffalo Arts Studio Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA. Paintings exhibited explore the contingence between violence and reconciliation. Curator: Cori Wolf.
Urban Overtures, Artists Alliance Gallery, Accra, Ghana. Paintings exhibited contemplate the stridence of urbanization through the use of metropolitan iconography. Curator: Theo Adete.
Layers, Skoto Gallery, NYC, NY, USA. Paintings with collage elements combining images from disparate sources in order to address the use of violence by humans to solve geo-political conflicts. Curator: Skoto Aghahowa.
George Afedzi Hughes, Atrium im Bockreiterzentrum, Herzogenrath, Germany. Paintings exhibited referenced power relations and the implied violence within such relations. Curator: Jutta and Joachim Melchers.
Signs & Symbols Collision, The Central University of Nationalities, Beijing, China. The paintings combined imagery from street signs and sociopolitical symbols. Curator: Yao Junjie.
On Guns Redcoats and Everything Else, Influx Contemporary Art Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal. Paintings referenced the violence of colonial history, drawing parallels between that history and contemporary global conflicts. Curator: Nuno Salgueiro-Lobo.
What you perceive is what you conceive II, Queens University, Belfast, N. Ireland. A performance probing the significance of the irrational in relation to myths that govern our belief systems. Curator: Maruska Svasek.
Paintings, Mainsite Gallery, Norman, OK, USA. The exhibition was in three parts: achromatic paintings exploring procreation, 3D assemblages addressing the plunder of gold resources by colonial regimes and mixed media paintings as a discourse of mortality. Curator: Christian Pitt.
Social Predation, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY, USA. Exhibited paintings depicting notions of power relationships and the implied violence within these relationships. Curator: John Massier.
George Hughes: Retrospective Exhibition, Mabee Gerrer Museum of Art, Shawnee, OK, USA. A decade’s (1996-2006) overview of paintings and assemblages. Curator: Jeff Cooper.
Rights of Passage, Myers Gallery, Living Arts of Tulsa, OK, USA. Paintings explored the human condition in its mockery of contradictions, stereotypes and errors. Curator: Steve Liggett.
Culture, Identity and Beyond, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. Performance art synthesizing painting, sound, music, poetry and video. Curator: Anna Jager.
Metaphysics, Carter Arts Center Gallery, Kansas City, MO, USA. Exhibited paintings that investigate the nuance of sensation such as doubt, discomfort and despair in our lives. Curator: Bernadette Torres.
Chronic Dreams, Park-Art Gallery, NYC, NY, USA. Exhibition of paintings with imagery reminiscent of colonial history. Curator: Ken Croken.
Skin and Essence, Myers Gallery, Living Arts of Tulsa, OK, USA. Paintings explored the human condition in its mockery of contradictions, stereotypes and errors. Curator: Steve Liggett.
Dead Man Series, 435 Park Avenue, NY, NY, USA. Performance art in which I played dead on the side of the street, eavesdropping on pedestrian vocal response.
Cosmopolitan, Artists Alliance Gallery, Accra, Ghana. Paintings exhibited captured the subtleties within multicultural environments experienced over ten years of living abroad. Curator Ablade Glover.
Symbols and Metaphors, Mainsite Gallery, Norman, OK, USA. Paintings exhibited drew parallels between the structural qualities of robots, machines and African sculpture. Curator: Tom Torperzer.
Lineage, Livingstone Gallery, The Hague, The Netherlands. Works on paper (blueprints and vellum) exploring human ancestry. Curator: Jeroen Dijkstra.
Von Ghana nach Amerika (From Ghana to America), Galerie Xenios, Frankfurt, Germany. Paintings and collages exploring contemporary urban life using traditional African sculptural proportions.
Contemporary Urban Life, 20 North Gallery, Toledo, OH, USA. Paintings exhibited morphed urban iconography with traditional African sculptures. Curator: Peggy Grant.
Group Exhibitions / Performance Art
Art, Honor, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada. Commissioned to do two original paintings informed by traditional Fanti flags of the Akan.
Global Topics Artco Gallery, Aachen, Germany. Featuring Bruce Clark, Godfried Donkor, George Afedzi Hughes, Owusu Ankomah, Manuela Sambo.
FNB Joburg Art Fair, Sabdton Convention Center, Johannesburg, South Africa. Group show.
Amid/In WNY. Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. Visual representation of crime statistics in major cities using color-coded tin-caps (roofing discs) to indicate various crime locations.
Contemporary Beirut (Global Art Fair) Opening date: Wed. May 21st 2014 / 18h-23h Daily until May 31st from 16h till 21h. A showcase of works by “artists from Lebanon, Syria, Armenia, Iran, Japan, Tanzania, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Indonesia, China, Germany, France & US.
Futbol, The Beautiful Game, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition examines the significance of football in societies around the world.
West to West, Städtische Galerie, Bremen, Germany. Artists invited by Owusu Ankomah for the show are Godfried Donkor, Afedzi Hughes, Atta Kwami, Wemega Kwawu, El Loko, Sokari Douglas Camp, Lawson Oyekan and Romuald Hazoume.
Aus Afrika, Galerie Frank Schlag & Cie, Essen, Germany. Paintings, sculptures and photographs by the following artists: Tété Azankpo, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Saidou Dicko, Godfried Donkor, Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Romuald Hazoumè, George Afedzi Hughes, Toyin Loye, Owusu-Ankomah, Chéri Samba, Manuela Sambo, Rikki Wemega-Kwawu and Zinkpé.
Moving Into Space: Football and Art in West Africa, National Football Museum, Manchester, England. Contemporary West African artists whose art is inspired by football to explore wider social issues.Curator: Martin Barlow.
Buffalo on the Bowery, Charles Bank Gallery, New York, NY. Sixty-eight artists with local ties donated work to the auction, including Rupp, Gregory Halpern, Amanda Besl, A. J. Fries, Megan Greene, Amy Greenan, George Afedzi Hughes, Julian Montague, Reed Anderson, and Jacob Kassay
Art Lisboa, Parque das Nações, Lisbon, Portugal. Brought together a selection of forty national and international contemporary and modern art galleries, as well as journals and specialized publications.Curator: Ivânia de Mendonça Gallo.
Just One, Artco Gallery, Herzogenrath, Germany. Fifty-three artists exhibited one work each of drawings, paintings, sculptures, installations and photographs. Curator: Joachim Melchers.
Les Fantomes, Jack Bell Gallery, London, England. Featuring painting, photography and sculpture. Curator: Jack Bell.
South is the new North, Influx Contemporary Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal. Group show featuring painting, sculpture, photography and video. Curator: Nuno Salgueiro-Lobo.
Arte Lisboa, Pavilhao do Rio of the Lisbon Congress Center, Lisbon, Portugal. Art fair with forty-one national and international contemporary and modern art galleries. Curator: Ivânia de Mendonça Gallo.
Spirit Tangents, Haliburton Forest Project, Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. Installation conceived as homage to dead trees. Curator: Reinhard Reitzenstein.
100@100: Works of Art by Alumni artists to celebrate BGSU’s Centennial, Bowling Green State University, OH, USA. Twenty-five works by outstanding alumni representing the School’s proudest accomplishments. Curator: Jacqui Nathan.
In & Out of Africa, Henn Art, Galeries Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Exhibition of thirteen artists originally from Africa working both abroad and in Africa exploring varied artistic styles. Curators: Gerry Belinc, Oliver Henn and Joachim Melchers.
Africa 2.0: Is there a Contemporary African Art?, Influx Contemporary Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal. Contemporary work from African artists of the Diaspora. Curator: Nuno Salgueiro-Lobo.
Rites of Blue Impediment, Haverford College, Black Box Theater, Haverford, PA, USA. A three-day residency organized by Ruti Talmor, Haverford professor and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow. The performance used ritual, sound, ornate props and supporting cast to address subtle methods used by predominant cultural groups to impede the progression of sub-cultural groups.
Nsoroma, The Dei Center, Accra, Ghana. Exhibition organized by the Dei Centre in memory of the late Professor Joe Nkrumah. Curator: Lyle Ashton.
Homecoming Exhibition, Artists Alliance Gallery, Accra, Ghana. Invitational group exhibition organized for seven leading Ghanaian expatriate artists practicing abroad. Curators: Kojo Fosu and Ablade Glover.
It’s Never Too Late To Become a Man, Coningsby Gallery, London, England. Works of artists across the Continent of Africa. Curator: Joe Pollitt.
Joburg Art Fair, Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg, South Africa. Art Fair with international galleries representing African artists. Represented by Artco Gallery.
Figure and Form: Explorations of Humanity, M. Rockefeller Arts Center, SUNY at Fredonia, Fredonia, NY, USA. Exhibition offered a range of perspectives on the human condition using the human figure as subject matter. Curator: Tina Hastings.
The St. James’s Auction, Rosebury, La Galleria Pall Mall, London, England. Paintings explored inner-city violence through the use of collage, signs, symbols, text and mixed media. Curator: Marcus Grey.
Dialog, Artco Galerie, Herzogenrath, Germany. An exhibition of works by artists of African and European descent exploring stylistic contrast. Curator: Joachim Melchers.
Shrines & Masquerades Live: Indifferentia, Commons Gallery, NYU Steinhardt, NYC, NY, USA. Performance art inspired by the African traditions of shrines and masquerades as well as the negotiation of identity in cosmopolitan America.
Monsters of Nature & Design II, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Performance played on the format of a ritual sacrifice in tribal societies with undercurrent themes of colonialism, globalism, transformation, and transcendence. Collaborators: Gary Nickard, Reinhard Reitzenstein, Cartherine Carfagna, Biff Henrich, Scott Ryan, Dave Meinzer, Brian Grunert, Patrick Heyden, Thom Furtado, Daughters of Creative Sound, David A. Moore, Dave Gutierrez, and Jeanette Sperhac
Race Symbiosis, intervened Nuit Blanche, Toronto, Canada. A performance that uses humor to present 'race' in the light of appearances, and that racial interdependence have often been overshadowed by the dialogue on racial differences. Collaboration with Geoff Krawczyk.
Sum-phusis, Black Box Theater, SUNY at Buffalo, NY, USA. Address allegorically the seemingly random effects of natural disasters contrasted with events initiated by human beings. Collaboration with UB Assistant Professor Melanie Aceto, Dance & Theater.
Art Fair 21, Cologne Gladbacher Wall 5, Cologne, Germany. 58 distinguished galleries from 10 countries presented a diverse range of 21st century art. Work exhibited: Gold Coast, a painting that chronicles the colonial history of Ghana.
In and Out of Africa, Museum for Art and Ethnography, Schwaz, Austria. An overview exhibition of four contemporary artists: Sokari Douglas Camp (Nigeria/England), Zinpe (Benin/France), George Hughes (Ghana/USA) and Owusu Ankomah (Ghana/Germany).
Diagne Chanel / George Hughes, (dubbed France meets United States), Artco Gallery, Herzogenrath, Germany. Paintings and drawings exhibited contrasted Diagne Chanel’s (Senegal/France) sociopolitical works with mine (Ghana/USA). Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Becker, former Director of the Ludwig Forum in Aachen, opened the exhibition.
New Paintings, Mainsite Contemporary Gallery, Norman, OK, USA. Exhibited works included new mixed media paintings. Curator: Christian Pitt.
Multiple Oneness, Park-Art Gallery, New York, NY, USA. Group show celebrating stylistic diversity among artists previously shown at the gallery. Curator: Ken Croken.
Rights of Passage, Myers Gallery, Living Arts of Tulsa, OK, USA. The performance explored the limitations of a boxed-in culture revealed through puppetry, manipulation, mimicry and ritual. Curator: Steve Liggett.
Art, Fred Jones Museum of Art, Norman, OK, USA. Faculty members of The University of Oklahoma Group show. Presented an installation/performance entitled Ego Transformation/Genome Revelation. Curator: Dr. Andrew Phelan.
Transition, Artists Alliance Gallery, Accra Ghana/ LO/FTF, Copenhagen, Denmark. Traveling exhibition of twelve contemporary artists of Ghana whose work serves as a medium to facilitate visions about the future.
Third National Juried Competition, Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences, Loveladies, NJ, USA. Juried exhibition of forty-four professional artists. Juror: Maria Christian Vallasenor, Associate Curator, Guggenheim Museum, NY, USA.
De Kleur Van De Liefde is Blauw (The Color of Love is Blue), The Old Flora Theater, The Hague, The Netherlands. The exhibition sought to promote multicultural activities. An exhibition opened by the Ambassador of Ghana, H. E. Mrs. Grace Amponsah-Ababio and the Mayor of the Hague, Mr. W. Deetman.
The Vibrant Art of Ghana, Gemeente Museum, The Hague, The Netherlands. To mark the third centenary of ties between the Netherlands and present-day Ghana, the Gemeente museum launched an exhibition of Ghanaian art. Three artists Philip Kwame Apagya, Francis Provençal and George Hughes represented contemporary Ghanaian art. Curator: Franz Kaiser.
Menschenbilder (People Pictures), Society for Technical Cooperation, Eschborn, Germany. Six artists from partner countries Mexico, Bangladesh, Poland, Ghana, Indonesia and Nigeria show GTZ (Society for Technical Cooperation) estimation, personal views and visions on man.
U vraagt ..Wij draaien?!? (You ask….We twist), Artoteek Zuidoost, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. International group of artist, exhibition juried by Totie Cronin, Sietse van der Hoek, Remy Jungeraman, John Menke, Karin Moor and Mildred Rambhajan.
Painted Gold (Goudkust Geschilderd), Art Museum voor Zuid, Goes, The Netherlands. Kwame Akoto and George Hughes exhibited paintings representing works of two Ghanaian artists.
Exposite Kuana, Cirkel Galerie, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. An exhibition on contemporary Ghanaian art with the works of the following artists: Wiz Kudowor, Amon Kotei, George Hughes, Ablade Glover, E. Krotei Tetteh, Rikki Wemega Kwamu, Tafa Fiadzigbe, Victor Odoi.
Zeitgenossische Kunst aus Ghana (Contemporary Art from Ghana), Galerie Xenios, Frankfurt, Germany. Contemporary art from Ghana showing the diversity of styles by participating artists. Curator: Petra de Jung.
New Music and Art, Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery, Bowling Green, OH, USA. Invitational compendium of documentary photographs, paintings, videos and art vehicles manifested through radically embellished and augmented automobiles. Curator: Jacqueline Nathan.
Toledo Area 78th Annual Exhibition, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, USA. Juried annual area artists’ exhibition. Work exhibited: Current Affairs, painting triptych addressing political turbulence.
Hedendaagse Schilderkunst uit Ghana (Contemporary Painting from Ghana), Maison Descartes, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Ten leading Ghanaian artists both home and abroad exhibited their most recent works. Curator: Petra de Jung.
Artist in Residence, Haliburton Forest Art Project, Haliburton ON, Canada. Created an installation Spirit Tangents from materials found on site. Curator: Reinhard Reitzenstein.
Artist in Residence, topic: ‘Look Both Ways,’ Haverford College, Haverford, PA, USA. Curated by Ruti Talmor, Professor and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Haverford College, PA, USA. Performance and slide lecture.
Artist in Residence, topic: ‘Culture, Assimilation and Rejection,’ Queens University, organized by Dr. Maruska Svasek, School of History and Anthropology, Belfast, North Ireland. Art performance and lecture.
Artist in Residence, topic: ‘Culture, Identity and Beyond,’ Invited by Prof. Dr. Susanne Gehrmann, Anna Jager, Sylvia Fiegert, Humboldt University, Department of Asian and African Studies, Berlin, Germany. Painting, performance art, and slide lecture.
Guest Speaker, Slide Lecture, Dei Foundation for Contemporary African Art, Accra, Ghana.
Artist Talk, slide lecture.
Visiting Artist, Takoradi Polytechnic, Painting and Sculpture Department. Takoradi, Ghana. Lecture topic:
“Contemporary Art Trends: Lesson for Future African Artists”.
Visiting Artist, Speakers Series, SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia, NY, USA. Lectured on my creative research overview addressing the relationship between painting and performance art.
Visiting Artist, topic: ‘Journey Through Cultures’, Chelsea College of Art and Design, Chelsea, London, England.
Visiting Assistant Professor, Bowling Green State University, OH, USA. Slide lecture, critiques and painting demonstration.
Visiting Artist and Instructor, Quartz Mountain, Lone Wolf, OK, USA. Two weeks workshop created for the benefit of High school art instructors.
2002 & 2003
Visiting Artist and Instructor, Quartz Mountain, Lone Wolf, OK, USA. Two weeks as painting Instructor for 20 exceptional high school students in the State of Oklahoma.
Visiting Artist, Elmhurst Elementary School, Toledo, OH, USA. Workshop for elementary students.
Visiting Artist, Athena Art Society, Toledo, OH, USA. Slide Lecture on drawings and paintings.
Artists Talk “New Music And Art Festival”. Open Forum at Toledo Museum of Art. Panel discussion on art and music with composer John Williams, sculptor David Best and painter. Organized and curated by Jacqui Nathan.
Visiting Artist, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, USA. Painting demonstration, critique and slide lecture.
Helmut, Anheier, and Yudhishthir Raj Isar. Cultural Expression, Creativity & Innovation, Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications Ltd, 2010 Pgs 62-77.
Holland, Cotter. “George Afedzi Hughes: Layers“ New York Times 5/18/10.
Pigg, Susan. “The Forest Beyond The Trees” The Star.com 8/13/10.
Layers solo exhibition catalog with text by Dr. Stefan Eisenhofer (of Staatliches Museum) at Skoto Gallery, Chelsea, NY. 2010.
Urban Overtures solo exhibition catalog with text written by Dr. Nii Bonney Andrews at Artists Alliance Gallery, Accra 2010.
Jegede, dele. “Painter, Performing Artist, Poet.” Encyclopaedia of African American Art, Westport, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2009 Pgs 109-112.
Fosu, Kojo. “George Hughes”, Homecoming, Accra, Type Company Limited, 2009, Pgs 64-74.
Sumphusis performance art catalog with text written by me, UB Black Box Theater, Buffalo, 2008
Grey, Marcus. The St James’s Auction, Fine Arts & Sculpture, Rosebury’s, 2008, Pg 122
Svasek, Maruska. Anthropology, Art and Cultural Production, “Artists on the move: George O. Hughes”, London, Pluto Press, 2007: Pgs116-121.
Gehlen, Walter, and Andreas Lohaus Art Fair 21, 2007: Pgs 5 and 26.
Chao, Albert. “Overlapping Spaces” Art Voice.12/7-13/06: Pg 21.
Bradenburg, John. “Mixed-media exhibit evokes energy, power” The Oklahoman 5/19/06: Pg 17D.
Bravenman, Rebecca. “George Hughes makes a red contention” The Pitch 12/9/2005: Pg 21
Watts Jr., James D. Tulsa World 5/5/2005.
Martin, Charles. “529 Group Show” Pop 7/1/2005: Pg 13.
Bradenburg, John. “529 group exhibits works in Norman” The Oklahoman 6/17/05: Pg 19D
McBee, Josh. The Norman Transcript 11/28/04: Pg E7.
Siegal, Evon. “Artist shows depth in work” The Norman Oklahoman 3/7/02 Pg 1
Torperzer, Tom. “George Hughes” Galleries magazine Fall Edition 2002. Pg 10
Krug, Christopher. The Oklahoman Daily 9/10/02 Pg 11.
Brandenburg, John. The Daily Oklahoman 9/20/02.
Toperzer, Tom. “George Hughes: Recent Work” Norman Living magazine 9/02. Pg 65 – 67.
Torperzer, Tom. “Mainsite showing Symbols and Metaphors” Pop 9/6/2002 Pg 6.
Kaiser, Franz. “Talking to Painter George Hughes” Gemeente Museum Paper # 3 9/29/2001-1/6/2002 Pgs 1-3.
Radio Channel: report RFI, Radio France International (February). 2010
KCUR News, Kansas City, interviewed by Maria Carter. 2005
BBC George Hughes Interview, interviewed by James Sasse (July). 1992
BBC World Service for Africa; Spice Taxi, interviewed by Silvia Smith (July). 1992
“Artes e Espectáculos” cultural magazine, TV channel: RTP Africa (April). 2010
“Latitudes” cultural magazine TV channels: RTP Africa (February). 2010
“Nós” cultural magazine dedicated to multiculturalism TV channel: RTP 2 (February).
Tennant, Carolyn, “Artgrease” Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo 2006.
Ross, Doran, “George Hughes” Interview, Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2001.
2008 - present
Influx Contemporary Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal.
2005 - present
Artco Kunstagentur GmbH, Herzogenrath, Germany.
2002 - 2006
Mainsite Art Gallery, Norman, OK, USA.
1999 - 2001
20 North Gallery, Toledo, OH, USA.
1997 - 2001
Frontier Art, The Hague, The Netherlands.
1994 - present
Artists Alliance Gallery, Accra, Ghana.