Reis Studios - Studio# 446
43-01 22nd Street
Born in Accra, Ghana West Africa in 1986, Benita Bamfo was raised by a household of tenacious African working women. Finding deep inspiration from her upbringing and personal experiences, she uses her pieces as a narrative that transcends past her family structure, in order to shed light on the stories of the black woman while navigating through various lessons in life. After Graduating from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor in Studio Art, she has continued to build on her body of work, entitled Akos 22. Using a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, printmaking and photography, Benita looks to convey her message in an imaginative way. Stylized linear designs and circular shapes within her work, add to the femininity and softness of her pieces. Some interconnected, similar to that of a vine. Stemming from a central location, they take on a resemblance to roots and the idea of origin. Others are free standing, creating repetitive patterns. All are representations of life--a journey with a beginning and an ultimate end. The incorporation of flowers aide in the metaphorical comparison to the female anatomy. The monochromatic and earth tone colored pieces correlate with the subject matter being represented in a natural state, whereas, the more vivid pieces express the emotion the subject matter is portraying. In keeping with the natural theme, some pieces are printed on hand-made Japanese paper. In reference to her West African culture, the incorporation of traditional jewelry and adornments can be found on the subject matter. This cultural reference is also reflected in some of the titles as well. Benita, like her pieces, is a product of growth. She tells her stories in an embellished, imaginative, subconscious manner. Going through phases and transplants, metamorphosing into something completely new through a collection of cycles -- as she grows mentally and spiritually, so does her work.
Akos 22, the title of my body of work, derives from the meaning of my middle name --a common name given to newborn females of Ghanaian decent, meaning born on Sunday. It relates to my subject?s birth; a day in which a life has been given to her. The pieces invite the viewer to take an exploratory journey into lessons on fear, pain, sexuality, liberation, sacrifice, motherhood and love. The life of the Black woman is a beautiful celebration of the human spirit, thus I am compelled to create an ample body of work dedicated to them. My work examines the ideas of femininity and race and the complexity and vulnerability not often associated with being a black woman based on the socio-cultural stereotypes assigned to her-- strength can equate to fragility and beauty.
All images and text copyright Benita Bamfo