The title of the artwork ‘Accumulated Wealth’ is deceptive. It’s understandable to see it as a paean to the virtues of the accumulation of riches. It is not. That’s not to say Kofi Agorsor has anything against riches. He does not. In this artwork and in many of his other abstract artworks, he views wealth as much more than money. For him, it is the accumulation of all the elements that lead to a happy life – whatever that is for each person. It’s simple, vague, with the ring of truth and wisdom about it – much like the artist.
Agorsor trained for a while as a traditional priest’s assistant. As a priest’s assistant he would often make carvings for people. His payment would be two cubes of sugar or some honey. They were not allowed to take money. You must have a certain perspective on life to be comfortable with that sort of reward. His ideas about life and remuneration are still as simple and unusual as when he was an assistant.
Love, growth, music and harmony are recurring themes in his art. He understands adversity but does not dwell on it. He finds the positive, in life and in his art.
Agorsor plays in an African music band. His listeners watch him play. He, in turn, plays and observes them. They become the subject of his paintings. He explores their reaction to his music and their reaction to a shared experience. In his art and his music, he searches for the rhythms, the harmonies and the connections that uplift people.
His perspective remains persistently sunny. But then again anyone who has started life happy to work for a few cubes of sugar has to have a somewhat contented take on life.
African Stories Exhibition. Hourglass Gallery. 4 pm July 27.