This painting is part of the artist’s Two Fronts series. The portrait depicts an individual Conteh met and photographed in the metro area of Atlanta, where his studio is located. The portrait possesses a dreamlike, almost omniscient quality. The artist’s treatment lends the figure a wise, gentle, heroic and spiritual presence—conveying a sort of inner vision about the subject it depicts.
The Two Fronts series explores images of contemporary members of the African diaspora. Conteh employs various mediums such as atomized metal powder and soil to create each canvas. These materials endow the surface of each painting with a textural quality akin to the contemporary and urban American South.
About the Two Fronts series, Conteh says: "This body of work is a visual exploration of how African diasporal societies in the South are fighting social, economic, educational and psychological wars from within and without to survive. The honest and false narratives of history embodied in this series are primarily personified in patinated colossuses that commemorate the people, culture and battles that the populations they tower over have fought and continue to fight. We are at war on two fronts."
Through his paintings and sculptures, Alfred Conteh explores the way African Americans deal with entrenched disparities that affect their communities—especially in the southern United States. His work is a visual exploration of how these communities are fighting social, economic, educational and psychological wars from within and without to survive. Known for his portraiture, Conteh’s work frequently possesses a dreamlike, almost omniscient quality—conveying an inner vision about the subjects he depicts.
Alfred Conteh was born in Fort Valley, Georgia in 1975. Conteh’s studio practice explores his identity and personal history from numerous perspectives—his mother is African American, and his father is from Sierra Leone, West Africa. His work also engages with the wider view of the entire African diaspora.
Major exhibitions of Conteh's work include: Alfred Conteh: The Sweet Spot at the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum in Atlanta, Georgia; Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service; Visions of a Cultural Commentator, curated by Madeline Beck, at the Cobb Marietta Museum of Art in Marietta, Georgia; Alfred Conteh, Selected Works at the Harriet Tubman Museum in Macon, Georgia; and 5 Perspectives at the Steffan Thomas Museum of Art in Madison, Georgia.
Conteh lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.
This painting depicts an individual the artist met in the city of Atlanta. The portrait possesses a dreamlike, almost omniscient quality—conveying a sort of inner vision about the subject it depicts. It is part of a series by the artist that explores images of contemporary members of the African diaspora.More