KWESI BOTCHWAY (B. 1994)
WORKS SOLD FOR THE MOWAA RAINFOREST GALLERY AND THE NIGERIA PAVILION AT THE VENICE BIENNALE 2024
KWESI BOTCHWAY (B. 1994)

Steady

Details
KWESI BOTCHWAY (B. 1994)
Steady
signed and dated 'KBotchway 23' (upper right); signed, titled and dated 'K.Botchway steady 23' (on the reverse)
acrylic and oil on canvas
31 ½ x 33 7⁄8in. (80 x 86cm.)
Painted in 2023
Provenance
Donated by the artist to MOWAA, courtesy of Vielmetter Los Angeles.
Sale room notice
This Lot is Withdrawn.

Brought to you by

Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Specialist, Head of Day Sale

Lot Essay

‘I was born in Ghana, and I have a strong connection to the country and its people. Living in Ghana has deeply influenced my work, which is primarily inspired by the rich culture and vibrant spirit of the African people as a whole.’

– KWESI BOTCHWAY

Christie’s and the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA) in Nigeria are collaborating to raise funds for MOWAA and its initiatives to create a cultural ecosystem in Benin City, based on the art of the past, present and future. A number of artists have generously agreed to donate original works of art to the auction, including Yinka Shonibare, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Lakwena Maciver and Victor Ehikhamenor. Proceeds from the sale of the works will go towards MOWAA initiatives including the presentation of the Nigeria Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, 2024—commissioned by the Governor of Edo State and also curated by Aindrea Emelife—and the 20-acre Creative Campus, including the Rainforest Gallery. Designed by the Dakar-based architecture firm Worofila, the Rainforest Gallery will be dedicated to showcasing Modern and Contemporary art, as well as historic exhibitions.

Born in Accra, Ghana, Kwesi Botchway reworks the legacy of portrait painting within Western art by centering the long-absent and ignored Black figure. Blending styles of French Impressionism and African Realism, his paintings are celebrated for their mysterious, charismatic and striking qualities. Botchway posits his figures centrally within the canvas; they are confident and at ease, imbued with a sense of autonomy and power. His subjects appear to be in what cultural theorist Stuart Hall called a state of ‘becoming as well as being.’ The painting Steady features a young man gazing at us with a complex, ambiguous expression—he appears at once proud, composed, deep in thought and questioning. Botchway’s trademark use of orange for the whites of the eyes and notes of purple within the skin lend the subject a magisterial splendour. The textural detail and colourful patterns upon his clothing imbue him with expressive character. The painting is thick with feeling.

Botchway has held solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Brussels, New York, London and Ghana. He featured in the major group exhibition Pop Masters: Art From the Mugrabi Collection in New York in 2023, alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Botchway also contributed to When We See Us, an exhibition held at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, which explored Black representation through portraiture and figuration. Botchway’s works embrace character, community, and culture with extraordinary impact.

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