• Alfred Conteh, Our Reality


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    Kavi Gupta is proud to present Our Reality, a digital exhibition of new and recent work by Alfred Conteh. 

     

    Conteh's newest portraits extend the artist's critically — acclaimed Two Fronts series, a body of work exploring how African diasporal societies in the American South are fighting social, economic, educational and psychological wars on two fronts-from within and without — in order to survive.

     

    Addressing the concrete realities of the daily lives of the individuals he portrays, Conteh mixes his paints with substances of the urban landscape — including atomized metal dust, soil, battery acid, and urethane plastic — which speak directly to the decaying environment where he and his subjects live and work.

     

    The tactile surfaces and luminous colors of his paintings add to the emotion and complexity communicated in these portraits. Often, the first reaction viewers have is to respond to the undeniable beauty of the paintings. Beauty, however, is far from Conteh's mind. These are not just paintings, he says. They're reminders of the actual living conditions many Black people suffer in this country right now.

     


     

    • Alfred Conteh Atlas, 2020 Acrylic and urethane plastic 77 x 83 x 3 in 195.6 x 210.8 x 7.6 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      Atlas, 2020
      Acrylic and urethane plastic
      77 x 83 x 3 in
      195.6 x 210.8 x 7.6 cm
      $ 42,000.00
  • “When it comes to the bleakness of my materials,” Conteh says, “I want people to see that poverty, see those stresses, see the disrepair. Take yourself out of where you are and put yourselves in these people’s world.”


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    Atlanta’s West End, home to many of the people Conteh paints, is routinely neglected by the city. Streets and parking lots crack and erode; light poles rust and flicker; sidewalks are overtaken by weeds and dirt. This isn’t where the tax base is, so time and the elements wage war against the residents to reclaim the space. Conteh is painting these realities, while also crafting compelling allegories connecting the inner and outer lives of the individuals he paints.

     


     

    • Alfred Conteh C, 2016 Acrylic, charcoal and atomized steel dust on paper 40 x 26 in 101.6 x 66 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      C, 2016
      Acrylic, charcoal and atomized steel dust on paper
      40 x 26 in
      101.6 x 66 cm
      $ 10,000.00
    • Alfred Conteh Darius, 2018 Acrylic and charcoal on paper 38 x 50 in 96.5 x 127 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      Darius, 2018
      Acrylic and charcoal on paper
      38 x 50 in
      96.5 x 127 cm
      $ 12,000.00
  • Alfred Conteh, Jade, 2020

    Alfred Conteh

    Jade, 2020 Acrylic and urethane plastic
    84 x 47.5 x 3 in
    213.4 x 120.7 x 7.6 cm

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    Quan’ta II (2019) shows a figure whose eyes have been erased; Jade (2020) features a woman whose hand, which holds a dollar, has been separated from her body; D-Chris (2020) holds the weight of the entire world in a single heartfelt and world-weary stare.

     


     

    • Alfred Conteh Quan'ta II, 2019 Acrylic and urethane plastic 84 x 47.5 in 213.4 x 120.7 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      Quan'ta II, 2019
      Acrylic and urethane plastic
      84 x 47.5 in
      213.4 x 120.7 cm
      $ 35,000.00
    • Alfred Conteh London, 2019 Acrylic and atomized steel dust on canvas 40 x 40 x 3 in 101.6 x 101.6 x 7.6 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      London, 2019
      Acrylic and atomized steel dust on canvas
      40 x 40 x 3 in
      101.6 x 101.6 x 7.6 cm
  • Conteh is not trying to educate anyone. He’s not trying to convince anyone to change their notion of truth. He is painting the material and pictorial facts of Black America today.

    “These paintings aren’t going to make you understand something you already don’t understand,” Conteh says, “but if you’ve been in this country for any length of time, you should already understand how things work. If you still believe that Black people are poor because we want to be poor, or are disenfranchised or uneducated because we want to be, these paintings ain’t gonna change your view of that. They just ain’t. Because you don’t know enough to understand these things. Or you’re too blind or unwilling to understand the truth of where I’m coming from. If you get it, great. If not, I’m not going to water the story down.”

    • Alfred Conteh Big Boy, 2020 Acrylic and atomized steel dust 84 x 47.5 x 3 in 213.4 x 120.7 x 7.6 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      Big Boy, 2020
      Acrylic and atomized steel dust
      84 x 47.5 x 3 in
      213.4 x 120.7 x 7.6 cm
      $ 35,000.00
    • Alfred Conteh Q, 2020 Acrylic, concrete, and lava 84 x 47.5 x 3 in 213.4 x 120.7 x 7.6 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      Q, 2020
      Acrylic, concrete, and lava
      84 x 47.5 x 3 in
      213.4 x 120.7 x 7.6 cm
      Sold
    • Alfred Conteh Cam, 2018 Acrylic, atomized steel dust and soil on canvas 77 x 83 in 195.6 x 210.8 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      Cam, 2018
      Acrylic, atomized steel dust and soil on canvas
      77 x 83 in
      195.6 x 210.8 cm
      $ 42,000.00
  • OUR REALITY ARTIST TALK: ALFRED CONTEH IN CONVERSATION W/ JEREMIAH OLAYINKA OJO

     

     

    Our Reality Artist Talk: Alfred Conteh in conversation w/ Jeremiah Olayinka Ojo, Founder and Managing Director of Ilèkùn Wa. The two discuss Conteh's inaugural solo exhibition with the gallery, Our Reality, originally scheduled to open in March at Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St., now on view virtually. The gallery will present a solo exhibition of new work by Conteh at Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St. in spring 2021.

     

     


     

     

    ABOUT JEREMIAH OJO:


    Jeremiah Olayinka Ojo is the Founder and Managing Director of Ilèkùn Wa, an art business advisory firm facilitating & cultivating opportunities for visual artists of African descent to create, sustain and thrive. Over the last decade, Ojo has become a sought after arts and culture management consultant, working internationally in artist development, gallery management, and art fair operations, as well as his collaborative work with emerging contemporary artists, art institutions, corporations, and collectors of the African diaspora. Ojo is also the Founder of Creative Milieu, LLC, a creative professional development enterprise that sources, trains and connects creatives through an integrated online-learning and staffing agency for the creative economy. 

    Ojo holds a Bachelors degree in Public Policy from the Andrew Young Schoo< of Policy at Georgia State University and a Masters in Art Business from Sotheby's Institute of Art and Claremont Graduate University. He currently serves on the board of both Black Art Futures Fund & Prizm Art Fair.
     

  • ABOUT ALFRED CONTEH:

     

    Alfred Conteh is a painter and sculptor who was born in Fort Valley, Georgia. His mother is an African American, and his father is from Sierra Leone, West Africa. Conteh explores his identity and personal history from a number of different perspectives. He is concerned with the way African Americans are dealing with disparities that have been affecting their communities for generations, especially in the southern United States. He is also interested in the wider view of the entire African diaspora. Recent exhibitions include: The Sweet Spot, Clark Atlanta University Art Museum; Fragile Figures: Being and Time, 21C Hotel; Men of Change: Power, Triumph, Truth, The Smithsonian Institute via The National Underground Railroad; and Alfred Conteh: Selected Works, Harriet Tubman Museum, Macon, GA

     


     

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    Alfred Conteh: The Sweet Spot

    Published by Clark Atlanta University Art Museum and Kavi Gupta,

    2019, hardcover with jacket, 112 pages, 11 x 8.75 inches.

     

     

     

     

     

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