Oscar Korbla Mawuli Awuku, the Ghanaian Performance Artist, Body Painter and Cultural Activist


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Oscar Korbla Mawuli Awuku with his models (Photo: Supplied)

Oscar Korbla Mawuli Awuku, also known as Yonga Arts, is an Accra-based multi-disciplinary Ghanaian artist born on May 18th, 1999. After receiving his elementary education at Senajoy Preparatory School in Accra, he studied Visual Arts at Mawuli School in the Volta region. Currently, Oscar Korbla is a Commercial Art (Painting Option) at Takoradi Technical University, Ghana.

In pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment, he like to explore environments that encourage creative expression. Most of the artistic ideas Oscar engage with deals with the notion of assimilation. Thus, he consider ideas about assimilating decolonized practices in his cultural path by including performance art. Videography, music, photography, digital art, poetry and painting to break free from the traditional way of painting only on canvas.

As part of his body of work, he explores pre-colonial culture as well as decolonized practices in contemporary culture. The essence of black identity and questions of empowerment in society.

At present, much of Oscar’s experimentation has been influenced by the historical and design decisions, that have characterised the production of Ashanti and Ewe kente cloth. This includes weaving where threads are thrown over and beneath each other. In a rhythmic, repetitive manner to create patterns and shapes.

The rhythmic movement draws his attention to a crafty-looking yet mythical figure in Ghanaian folklore, Kweku Anansi. Anansi is a Ghanaian name given to the mythical figure described as a spider.

Oscar’s body of work, which he calls Anansinisim, takes advantage of the intricate design of spider webs, their complexity, and their embolizing effect. Through fusing visual design networks in a syncopated manner, and infusing Adinkra symbology from Ghanaian history. He creates both original and traditional designs that are painted onto the body.

He uses designs on the body to re-echo the collective knowledge and wisdom of his ancestors. Which are gradually losing their vigor among contemporary audiences. Oscar uses the ritual mask primarily because he believes wearing it would conceptually turn the wearer into the spirit represented by the mask.

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