To say that Amoako Boafo’s star has stratospherically risen this past year is an understatement. The Ghanaian painter garnered widespread interest within the art world for his rippling, large-scale portraits of African diasporic figures that “represent, document, celebrate, and show new ways to approach Blackness.” He counts the artist Kehinde Wiley among his collectors and biggest fans, and Dior Homme artistic director Kim Jones even tapped Boafo for a high-profile and critically acclaimed collaboration for Spring/Summer 2021.
His work also resonated with Magnet Art Group founder Jill Clark, who’s curating the Suborbital Triptych series for Uplift Aerospace’s new Uplift Art Program. She invited Boafo to create the inaugural series on three removable carbon-fiber exterior panels of an uncrewed Blue Origin New Shepard rocket scheduled to launch into space this fall. (They’ll cover the parachutes used to return the rocket’s space capsule to ground.) Boafo will soon join the Uplift team in Texas to paint the original artworks, which are being coordinated by his representatives from the Chicago- and Paris-based Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.
According to Josh Hanes, the CEO of Uplift Aerospace, Boafo is an ideal collaborator for Uplift Art Program’s inaugural run. “The profound strength of Amoako’s portraits for the first Suborbital Triptych will bring another dimension to the power that propels the New Shepard rocket,” he said in a statement. He further notes that original voices that possess an innate ability to connect our human experience—much like Boafo’s—are key to navigating humanity’s continuing efforts to explore beyond the bounds of Earth. Boafo’s triptych will also help raise awareness and funds for charities that will be announced in a ceremony after the voyage.
“It’s an honor to be invited to a project of this latitude,” Boafo says. “To create a painting that will launch into space is unimaginable, and frankly surreal. I wish one day to experience what my characters will see.”