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. Japheth is a member of Artaxis and National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Japheth has exhibited his works in several prestigious solo and group exhibitions 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, among others. He was a very influential architect and an exhibitor in Ahoↄden! held at Jamestown Café, Accra, Ghana. He was a presenter on the theme “Ghanaian Ceramics Now: Ahoↄden! at 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 recipient of Baber Fellowship, Multicultural Fellowship of NCECA, Lela Winegarner Fellowship, Marshal Dulaney Pitcher Award, Friends of the Art Grant and Zenobia Award.

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 and the complexities of the diaspora.

Artist Statement

My sculptures and paintings are inspired by Kente and its associated history in materiality. They explore the potential of textiles to communicate the complexities of the diaspora: separation, belonging, perception, anxiety, stress, adaptation, assimilation, fear, rejection, love, nostalgia, racism, and appropriation. These sculptures and paintings are my visual vocabulary for discussing the experience of entering and leaving the United States. Thoughts of my family, conversations with them, and their pain due to my absence influence the names of my works.

I consider these sculptures and paintings as my diary of a monumental visual language commemorating my memories, mixed feelings and traumatic experiences. They are my appreciation, made material, of possessing multiple personalities while living in dual worlds. They are my research samples to unearth who I am.

My work encompasses interdisciplinary contemporary approach to the field of ceramics with successful inclusion of ideas drawn mostly from painting and sculpture. These works are a component of continuous research to expand the boundaries of ceramics by being daring to infuse nonceramic materials and techniques from other areas of art.

The complexities of the diaspora are issues we seem to be aware of but there are more to them than we think we know. My research seeks to bring to the fore some of these complexities that are taken lightly but are having a huge impact on “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