For Ghanaian painter Kojo Marfo, the last few months have been a time to observe the absurdities of human behaviour, and to imagine how it might change
There aren’t many people who could see the funny side in their friend’s marriages breaking down during the coronavirus lockdown. But for painter Kojo Marfo, who cheerfully asserts that “most artists are always stuck indoors”, it was a one-off social experiment that forced everyone else to live like him – introspectively – and which gave him enough material to fill multiple canvases with his colourful, angular figures. After he comforted his heartbroken friends, of course.
Marfo was born and raised in Ghana, in Kwahu, in the southeast of the country. His was a semi-unusual childhood – his mother spent time studying in London and Paris, and so he lived with his grandmother and brother before moving to Accra around the age of eight. “City people” looked down on him, he says, for all the usual reasons of urban snobbery, and he didn’t get great O-Levels, but his family nonetheless pushed him to go to university to become “a doctor or economist.” Like school, the “tedious” university lifestyle didn’t really stick, and he dropped out before heading off to study in America and the UK, only to confound his peers’ expectations again by becoming an artist, rather than the usual doctor, lawyer, or businessman.