Notes on Retirement – Luther Konadu


Notes on Retirement – Luther Konadu
October 17 – November 20, 2017
Opening reception: October 17, 7-9pm

I’m using the word ‘retirement’ loosely here. I’m using retirement to mean an idea of freedom. It is a way of giving the figures I paint the agency of freedom. Freedom from any kind of unwanted labour–physical, emotional, mental, historical burden, anxiety, labour of making others feel comfortable, labour of being subjects of scrutiny, labour of any oppressive kind, etc. In this series, I’m interested in visualizing and creating a potential future environment for the figures I paint to inhabit and retire. This potential future is in the form of an architectural sculpture I’m calling A Retirement Pavilion. It is a built space to think through a future where they can shelter themselves, live safely without worry, and just be carefree.

History is always told by its victors which by that fact, suppresses other voices making the history we know limited and one-sided. I’m working through the traditions and histories within figure and portraiture painting to create and invent my own conventions that counter dominant narratives but also expand upon that canon.

Each figure is informed by an amalgam of images of self and family but don’t necessarily depict anyone in particular. I’m thinking about the self in an expansive context. Not necessarily autobiographical or personal but rather self as it relates to a diverging collective identity. The figures are all painted on paper and presented with built supporting structures to not only give them the physicality of a figure within a three-dimensional space but to also activate their presences within the context of painting’s history.

-Luther Konadu


Luther Konadu is an emerging artist of Ghanaian descent. He is a content creator for the online publication Public Parking. A project for highlighting the working practices of emerging creatives. His studio practice is project-based and is realized through photographic print media and painting processes. He is interested in how the histories of those mediums help shape prevailing perceptions of group identities and narratives and seeks to reinterpret them. Konadu currently lives and works on Treaty One Territory.