Biography

Japheth Asiedu-Kwarteng (1987) is an Artist, working primarily in ceramics and mixed media. He holds a BA Industrial Art (Ceramics option) from KNUST, Ghana, and an MFA in Ceramics from Illinois State University, USA. He teaches Ceramics and Design at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), Edinburg, Texas.

Japheth is a member of International Academy of Ceramics, Artaxis and National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). He has exhibited his works extensively in Ghana and the United States including 2022 and 2021 NCECA Annual and Multicultural Fellowship exhibitions. His works have been exhibited in Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA, Blue Line Arts, Roseville CA, Weston Art Gallery, Cincinnati OH, DAAP Galleries, Cincinnati OH, University Galleries, Normal IL, Taylor Gallery, Newark DE, Grizzly Grizzly, Philadelphia PA, Rachel Cooper Gallery, Normal IL, Ahoↄden! held at Jamestown Café, Accra, Ghana. Japheth has several publications, lectures and presentations to his credit including  presenting  Ghanaian Ceramics Now: Ahoↄden! at the 2021 NCECA Conference.

Japheth has works in the permanent collections of the University Galleries, Normal, Illinois and other private collectors in the United States.

Japheth is a Baber, Multicultural (NCECA), Lela Winegarner Fellow respectively; Marshal Dulaney and Zenobia Scholar respectively.

Japheth served as Teaching Technician (studio and lab) for eight years in ceramics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). He taught undergraduate students and graduate students. He was in charge of all technical works, sourced and processed local clay and glaze materials for faculty/students and kept decades old electric kilns running to service over 100 students per semester. Japheth performed incredibly with very few resources. He was a research assistant to Professor Kwawukume, KNUST, from 2010-2019, in designing and testing of electrical porcelain, composition and production of tile cement and crucibles with locally sourced materials.

Japheth’s works are largely inspired by traditional Ghanaian symbolism. His research and creative practice are inspired by Kente and its history in materiality (expanding its symbolism) and explore the communicative potential of fabric and fibers to discuss the experiences of the diaspora.

Artist Statement

My work and practice discuss the overwhelming power required to harness strength (for survival) from the countless challenges I encounter as a displaced non-immigrant. They make up my visual vocabulary highlighting the adventurous journey of finding a space of solace away from home. They are sculptures inspired by Kente and its associated history in materiality; to explore the potential of textiles to communicate ‘The Best, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ of the diaspora: separation, belonging, love, perception, anxiety, stress, adaptation, assimilation, fear, rejection, love, nostalgia, racism, and appropriation.

I make work that continues to ‘acknowledge the legacy of Ghanaian ceramics history and contemporary presence without restriction, and often utilizes complex cultural symbols, such as those associated with Kente, the meanings of which are specific, layered and nuanced’. In employing these symbols in a ceramic context and infiltrating boundaries between traditional media, I make an imminently contemporary statement and exemplify an approach to my work which transcends form and questions the relationship between tradition and modernity, cultural exchange and tension.

My research with ceramic and other nonceramic material seek to reinforce the need for attention on the life of “diasporans”. Like the Akan proverb goes, “wobɛn nsuo a na wote sɛ ↄkↄtↄ bↄ wa.” Let’s get close to the river and we will hear the crab cough.

My Portfolio

2022

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2021

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2020

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2016-2019

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2015

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2012

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2009

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STUDENTS PROJECTS

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