ArtsWorcester West Gallery

January 18 through February 25, 2024

Reception: Friday, January 19, 6:00-9:00 PM /// LEARN MORE

Artist Dialogue (with Kristina Wilson, Clark University): Saturday, February 3, 1:00-3:00 PM /// LEARN MORE

An immigrant from Ghana, Opoku reflects on his diasporic experience with a twist of surrealist humor and occasional sarcasm. With a strong cultural belief that all broken objects have value and potential, Opoku’s symbolic portraiture and sculptural assemblages take shape from repurposed and transformed objects of various utility. While modernist influences like Duchamp and Brancusi are evident, Opoku examines his own cultural assimilation, while raising questions of how we value, commodify, and consume the things of everyday life, wherever it is lived.


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Growing up in Ghana, Emmanuel Opoku witnessed a material culture very different from the United States’ throw-away society. In Ghana, electronics and appliance shops were everywhere, ready to repair anything, due to a belief that all broken objects still have value. Opoku incorporates this belief into his sculptural assemblages and paintings, using repurposed and transformed objects of various utility, re-contextualizing the objects and the viewers’ perceptions of them.

In repurposing everyday objects, ranging from kitchen utensils and plastic lizards to tea kettles and hair extensions, and placing them in the gallery space, Opoku seeks to elevate their status. The artist does not hide these objects, rather, he honors their past “lives” and finds a surrealist sense of humor and sarcasm in their reuse in his fine art. Opoku draws inspiration from modernists such as Marcel Duchamp and Constantin Brancusi, who inspired audiences to view mundane objects in new ways. Humor is essential to the artist’s aesthetic. The geometric pattern that repeats in the background of his paintings is a reference to the face paint used by actors on the Ghanaian comedy show Key Soap Concert Party. Opoku aims to entertain with his sculptures and paintings—to engage the viewer and maintain a sense of surprise at every angle.

Opoku’s paintings feature visual assemblages, and investigate the relationship between individuals and their objects. These “symbolic portraits,” as the artist calls them, combine classical portraiture and surrealist techniques in which the representational forms are abstracted. The faces and bodies of his subjects—friends, family, and the artist himself—are obscured and distorted by inanimate objects to create a biographical narrative. Through this work, Opoku explores his diasporic experience and cultural assimilation with a focus on commodity and consumerism. “Who we are is what we value,” says Opoku.



Emmanuel Manu Opoku (b. Ghana, 1990) received a BFA in Painting from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. He holds an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Florida, where he worked as an Adjunct Professor of Studio Art. Opoku has had solo exhibitions in Florida, North Carolina, and New Mexico, and his work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions in the U.S. and internationally. He is a recipient of the James J. Rizzi Studio Award, the Harold Garde Studio Art Award, and a Juror's Prize at ArtsWorcester for Strut (2023). He has participated in a 60-artist collaborative project, “Exquisite Moving Corpse,” which has been screened in Venice, Italy and New York City. Opoku is a former curator of 4Most Gallery, and he currently teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Assumption University.



/// EXPLORE We Ourselves are Shared

View works below. For sales inquiries, please contact the galleries at sue@artsworcester.org or call (508) 755-5142.


New Father

oil on canvas, 48" x 36", 2023, $10,500


A Trip To Times Square

acrylic on canvas, 52" x 52", 2022, $14,500


American Graduate

oil on canvas, 46" x 36", 2024, $10,000


At Somewhere

acrylic on canvas, 52" x 52", 2021, $12,000


Different Views

acrylic on canvas, 40" x 30", 2023, $11,000



acrylic on canvas, 48" x 40", 2022, $8,500


In the Process of Understanding

doorknobs, kitchen sink, infant stoke, shower pipe, and duct tape, 38" x 34" x 18", 2021, Not For Sale


Jacuzzi Bathers

oil on canvas, 88" x 52", 2023, $26,000


Linguist 1

chair, bamboo curtain rod, ice scraper, measuring scale, compass, wooden spoon, basket, candlestick, steel wire, 61" x 22" x 19", 2021, Not For Sale


Linguist 2

wooden can opener, cup holder, bike light, candle holder, lamp holder, feather, steel wire, 61" x 22" x 18", 2021, Not For Sale



oil on canvas, 48" x 36", 2023, $10,500


Mother and Daughter

oil on canvas, 58" x 54", 2023, $17,000


Person In The Mirror

acrylic on canvas, 40" x 40", 2021, $11,000



vacuum, sisal twist, plastic hair rollers, comb, tie, safety glasses, super glue bottle, pair of shoes, 47" x 22" x 17", 2021, $3,500


Self-Portrait of the Artist in Night Robe

oil on canvas, 40" x 30", 2022, $10,000


Spare Me Your Lies

kettle, blender, yarn, artificial hair, tooth brush and glue, 2022, $1,200


Tea Woman

oil on canvas, 52" x 30", 2023, $14,500

For sales inquiries, please contact the galleries at sue@artsworcester.org or call (508) 755-5142.