Owusu-Ankomah’s practice explores the intersection between symbolism, ontology, and questions of identity throughout a pictorial language centered in the understanding of movement as the defining quality of existence. Drawing from adinkra symbols and bodies, much of his work expresses the thoughts, philosophies, values, and histories of Asante people in Ghana. By contemplating the overlapping expansiveness between spiritual, philosophical, and physical realities that get codified in movement and stillness, Owusu-Ankomah blurs the boundaries between past and present, offering an imaginative record of existence. His works Microcron Begins No.16 and Microcron Begins No.19 depict adinkra patterns on canvas with superimposed human figures which communicate collective wisdom from the past and propose perspectives for the future. Beyond formalist abstraction, Owusu-Ankomah’s art unfolds possibilities to relate to Akan ancient and contemporary Adinkra philosophical symbology, indicating ‘universes within universes, within multiverses’, as he has described them. Dramatized as figures of being and becoming, the bodies entwined with symbols invite us to a pictorial space that connects us to a system of reflection and meditation. Symbols which convey fondness, alertness, and duty in his work offer trajectories and possibilities for emancipation and exchange.

Works in the exhibition: Microcron Begins No.16 (2013), painting, acrylic on canvas, 180 × 280 cm; Microcron Begins No.19 (2013), painting, acrylic on canvas, 180 × 280 cm. Courtesy of the artist and October Gallery, London