Larry Otoo, currently one of Ghana's best-known painters, refers to himself as a "traditionalist contemporary artist." Born in Accra (Ghana) in 1956, his main subjects of inspiration are the daily activities of Ghanaians. His vibrant oil and acrylic paintings capture the rhythms of daily life in Ghana. The artist assures us that he paints "to record and preserve traditions through imagery".
Larry Otoo graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi (Ghana), with a degree in African art and literature. He has painted since he was a child, when he was scolded for drawing with charcoal on the walls.
Larry Otoo has received extensive recognition and his work is still followed with interest on an international level. He has exhibited in Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria; In Europe, in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Spain; as well as in Canada, the United States and Japan. In 1987, he was honored as Artist of the Year in Ghana.
His paintings are hung in the Presidential Suite in Ghana and the Chancellery of Ghana in Washington. His latest activities include a residency in Segovia (Spain) and a collective exhibition at the Nubuke Foundation of Accra (Ghana).
His palette is made up principally of three colors: blue, red and yellow. He usually brings brightness to his works with blues and leaves the reds and yellows more or less saturated. By using pale blues for shading, he combines the effect of the three colors and gives an abstract harmony through light.
His preferred subjects are, on the one hand, jazz and its musicians and dancers and on the other, the bustle of local markets; the fruit and vegetable vendors, the smell of the spices and the noise of the crowd. Music is a vital element in his work. His figures, at times almost cartoon-like, break with abstract rhythms, invoking the rhythms of jazz.
Otoo is one of many West Africa artists who is in constant search of a language to express his own personal experience. He is courageous in his artistic experimentation. His sources of inspiration are as much African as they are European, following the same path as many international
artists. However, in spite of this, he always returns to his
roots and revels in the mysteries of Africa, as if he were a jazz musician who improvises and then immediately returns to the score.
Contemporary and tribal African art