According to Annor, the idea of his work is to flatten time space and location because he don’t want to only depict images of his family, he want to also depict that of other families. he want everyone to see their family in this.
He also added; I would like what I am creating right now to reach people of the highest stature so that they can see the positive imagery of Africa or Ghana because most of the positive images of black people focus on the African American story. I wanted to create positivity around here too so people can change their view about our beautiful continent.
Cornelius Annor was born in 1990 in Accra, Ghana. He is known as a figurative painter depicting everyday life often departing from childhood memories and family history. He completed his fine art studies at Ghanatta College of Art and Design, where fellow artists Amoako Boafo, Kwesi Botchway, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe and Emmanuel Taku also studied. From an early age, Annor developed a passion for painting, sketching his family, friends and even strangers. Annor lives and works in Ghana where he established C. Annor studio, a space dedicated to encouraging and supporting young talents and upcoming artists.
Depicting everyday Ghanaian sceneries, the emerging artist Cornelius Annor combines acrylic paint with fabric transfers to create large figurative paintings. The artist’s research revolves around family history, through family photo albums, as such exploring moments in time, from pre-colonial Ghana and Post-independent Ghana to our contemporary era. The characters in his paintings are old and young, male and female, sharing different emotions, often in the context of gathering. Incorporating objects and clothes from different periods, Annor plays with memory, history and temporality.
“For me archiving as a form has the potential to open up discussions on lost and forgotten histories and its politics. And I intend to bring into presence these past histories through my works as a way of creating a room of memory which can migrate my audience to a particular moment in time and reflect on themselves.”
Annor invites the viewer to connect with the figures in ambiguous yet completely present and familiar ways. These seemingly ordinary moments of intimacy, gathering and entertainment also set the focus on the details of his fabric transfer technique as well as his photography collages merging tradition and contemporaneity in his work. Departing from archival photographs from family albums or from the internet, he reconfigures his references using photoshop with the idea of inter-migrating cultures, identities and histories. The combination of collages with painting disrupts the depth and perspective within the painting. Through his distinctive practice, Cornelius Annor attempts to change our reading of history.
Annor’s work has been exhibited throughout Africa and the U.S., including at the Ghana National Museum and the Accra Art Center.
ABOUT MARUANI MERCIER GALLERY
Founded in 1995, MARUANI MERCIER now represents twenty contemporary artists alongside its programme of museum-quality historical exhibitions, whilst continuing to build on the legacy of a number of renowned estates. Showing established artists alongside young and emerging new talent, the gallery promotes an artistic dialogue between different generations. It also contributes to new scholarship across its programmes by inviting prominent art historians and curators to collaborate on its exhibition catalogues and artist texts. Many of the gallery’s artists participate in international exhibitions and are today placed in some of the most important museums and private collections around the world.
Initially, MARUANI MERCIER´s primary programme focused on celebrated American artists from the 1980s who, working within the medium of painting and sculpture, sought to reflect the aesthetic and social concerns of their time. Including; Ross Bleckner, Francesco Clemente, Ron Gorchov, Peter Halley, Jonathan Lasker, and Sue Williams.
Over the years, the gallery looked to a new generation of artists who, working within different media, also addressed topical subjects relating to history, politics, the environment, and questions of identity and authorship. Amongst these, Radcliffe Bailey, Esiri Erheriene-Essi, and Hank Willis Thomas examine topics surrounding Black history and culture, whilst Lyle Ahston Harris looks at societal constructs of sexuality and race. Jaclyn Conley´s beautiful and nostalgic paintings present a poignant rumination on the social and political concerns of American life, whilst Tony Matelli confronts issues of isolation and impermanence with humour and irony.
In 2001, MARUANI MERCIER expanded to include an additional gallery in the historic art town Knokke followed in 2018 by a 15,000 sq ft exhibition space in Zaventem called THE WAREHOUSE. In addition to the celebrated exhibitions held there, in 2021 THE WAREHOUSE hosted Kwesi Botchway and Cornelius Annor at its artist residency. MARUANI MERCIER will remain committed to exhibiting the artist that it hosts there across its galleries.