2023 Artist in residence :
Awanle Ayiboro is a Ghanaian artist born in 1997 and living in Accra, the capital of Ghana.
Ayiboro is a painter, but she also practices performance and video. Her work is inspired by the experiences of African women in a still largely patriarchal society. Born into a strict Muslim family originally from northern Ghana, the first daughter of her parents, she was the victim of unrealistic expectations and social pressures on her to “settle down” and have children as soon as possible. However, Awanle did not submit to a marriage arranged by her family, a traditional institution which she believes limits the development possibilities of poorer-class women.
Interested in painting, she decided to paint with the intention of challenging the standards set for women like her. She has always been interested in the visual arts, but she could not develop her skills during her adolescence due to a lack of interest from her parents, who influenced her to pursue a career in the humanities instead. Despite this, Ayiboro became more and more interested in painting (learning the technique through YouTube videos). Finally, the acquaintance of artists, who became mentors for her, made her rebel and decide to pursue a career as a painter.
Based in Accra, the capital of Ghana – a city of five million inhabitants with a very lively art scene open to the world -, Ayiboro portrays the experiences of Ghanaian women through her art (paintings but also performances) and, consequently, inspires many women to break free from the limitations of society. She currently works with Artemartis, an art collective in Accra, where she spends her time researching, experimenting and painting. Her oil paintings show brightly colored women and children whose youth has been “stolen” by families and the weight of tradition: forced to get married or work before they can realize their dreams.
According to Ayiboro, painting can and should be a tool to change things in a constantly evolving African society. Awanle Ayiboro has already exhibited abroad at various group exhibitions and had her first solo exhibition in Europe in March 2023, in Paris.