Ghanaian artist George Kushiator is one of the 14 African scholars who are part of the 2011-2012 cohort of African Presidential Scholars. While in residence at UM, Kushiator is exploring the impact of digital tools and technologies on painting, printmaking, and photography, and producing a body of work that contributes to the discussion and understanding of these tools and processes. Here we print some of his recent works, accompanied by comment from him.
My artwork is motivated by intrinsic traditional values of Ghana, functioning as a physical codification of the cultural and spiritual continuum, a conduit that draws the human spirit to its heritage. I draw inspiration from my environment, experimenting on printmaking, photography and digital media that culminate into integrated digital artworks. To create my artworks, I orchestrate the merging in digital space of two unlike sources. I float a selection of saturated enamel paints in a tray of water, stirring, pushing, agitating, coaxing, dragging and blowing the surface into a flowing arrangement of unstable floating of meandering dots, lines, shapes and color. Color registers its encounter with other color, suspended liquid motion, smooth and undulating with its own weight. Arriving at the desired result, I then lay a sheet of cardboard paper face down, gently pressing it evenly against the floating enamel. Released from its liquid matrix, the color grips the paper to settle into the fibers shaped on one surface, recorded on another in both juxtaposition and superimposition creating harmonious and complementing elements of art.
The printed artwork is then photographed and launched into a digital space. I also upload my own photographs into the digital space. These are then integrated and merged through the process of manipulation in the digital environment, using painting and photographic software like Adobe Photoshop. Moving back and forth between layers and tools, I invite one image to inflect the other until arriving at the convergence I desire to create innovative powerful expressions.