Instantly recognizable for their vibrant color palettes and preponderance of curved linear patterns, Foster Sakyiamah’s paintings are celebrated as exuberant portrayals of the people and culture of Ghana. Sakyiamah’s affinity for patterns comes from his interest in the work of Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, and Ghanaian-British Photographer James Barnor who often dressed his subjects in patterned clothes and posed them amid wildly patterned floors and backdrops.
Such a diversity of patterns and forms creates a dynamism in Sakyiamah’s paintings that thrills the eye, and brings his figures to life. Movement is another important aspect of Sakyiamah’s practice. He studied gymnasts in order to understand the mechanics of the human body, and to learn how to capture a sense of motion in his paintings. The content in Sakyiamah’s paintings concerns his inner feelings and attitudes towards his community, his culture, and towards the everyday domestic aspects of his life in Ghana. His portraits convey a psychological attitude or state of mind through the facial expressions of the figures, their fashion styles, and through their body language.