We met British-Ghanaian Sarah Owusu at the Africa Now event hosted in collaboration with Bonham’s, the Dangote Foundation and the Otedola sisters – DJ Cuppy and fashion blogger Temi of JTO Fashion blog.
It was a surprisingly balmy-for-autumn evening, and we were welcomed by the stunning colours and ambiance of the exhibition space. We enjoyed taking in the art, as we shared tales from life as a creative, her inspirations and toasted to Mother Africa. London based Sarah had a rather unusual introduction to the art world, yet cannot imagine living life any other way.
She enjoys expressing her vision in mixed mediums – from oil on canvas, bespoke fashion creations, and even a bottle of champagne! Consequently her inimitable style is coined Owusuism.
Over to you, Sarah…
Who do you work with?
Currently I work by myself as I do not have a team but I would love to work collaboratively with a team in the future.
Describe the current art industry and scene, firstly in London? What about the UK?
Currently the art scene is growing and ever changing. However, now more than ever from my own personal perspective, there has been a significant increase of African artists in the UK and a high demand for African art and talent to the point now where there are a handful of galleries in London which focus purely on African Art and celebrating and encouraging talent from the Continent like never before.
Regarding hidden talent, there are so many hidden artists here in the UK with tremendous talent however we need more African focused galleries like Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) who are doing an amazing job in discovering amazing African Artists and bringing them to the forefront of the art world.
Which direction do you see the art industry going, in the next 5 – 10 years? How does it compare to when you started?
I can see the art industry maintaining tradition, with artworks mostly being created on canvas. However, I can see the digital art world exploding like never before and expanding worldwide. I say this because, about 5-10 years ago, you would rarely see digital art in the galleries. However, this has all changed and there has been a huge growth in this area quite recently with some exhibitions being purely focused on solely that.
What are the last 3 books you read?
1. Mastery by Robert Greene
2. The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer
3. Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill
3 films you watched?
1. Wizard of Lies
2. Get Out
3. Birth of a Nation
3 albums you streamed?
1. Kendrick – DAMN
2. Jay-Z – 4:44
3. Sampha – Process
This is a tricky one because I have so many so I’m going to be cheeky and list some of them:
– Jean Michelle Basquiat
– Francoise Neilly
– Shin Kwangho
– James Kerry Marshall
– Yinka Shonibare
– Lynnette Forjour…
– and many more but this will do for now!
Aside from being a Contemporary Artist, I like to describe my own personal art movement as Owusuism which is how I describe my style of work. This derives from my surname Owusu which means strong willed and determined which I believe myself to be so I like to incorporate it into my artwork. This is also strongly reflected in my style of work primarily by my choice of bold colours and strokes evident in most of my pieces.
What is your source of inspiration?
My inspiration draws from pretty much anything but if I had to choose I would say my African-ness and Africa itself.
Who is your source of inspiration – personally and professionally?
G-d. I always say that He is the greatest Creator of all and although it is myself who physically holds the brush, it is He who orchestrates and guides me through all that I do.
What motivates you to stay in this role and industry?
The lack of women, especially black women, in the art industry. I strongly believe that Africans are incredibly talented. However, I feel that there is a huge shortage in African Artists and it’s not because we lack the talent but rather that there’s a drainage in this area as the arts isn’t something which holds much respect within the black community today thus deterring and scaring away a lot of talented artists from pursuing their dream and becoming the gifted and talented Artist whom G-d ordained them to be.
Anything else you’d like to tell us before we go?
Our time is now more than ever before so we must grab every great opportunity that comes our way with both hands!