Artist Adelaide Damoah - Artwork – “burst of light” created by Adelaide Damoah for METHOD's The Art Collection using her body as the brush on a large-scale canvas.Photo courtesy of Method
Eco cleaning brand Method has created The Art Collection, a bespoke limited edition of designed plastic bottles on some of its most-loved cleaning products. Cover designs for three branded kitchen cleaning products, have been created by three different contemporary artists, reflecting the brand's ability to not only think outside of the traditional eco-cleaning box, but to actively support the creativity of up and coming artists who use their talents to drive social, environmental and societal change.
London based artist Adelaide Damoah, is well known for her unique body span painting, performance, collage, image transfer and photographic processes, here she tells me about her collaboration with Method, and her artistic mission to champion #female empowerment, encouraging women to believe in themselves and breakaway from the confines of race, gender or class through her #artworks.
Caroline@SustainableDiva: Let’s talk about your collaboration with eco brand Method and the beautiful “Burst of light” design cleaning covers you created for their bespoke collection. How did this relationship come about, and what has been the result for you as an artist moving into this area of design?
Adelaide Damoah: The Method project came about through the agency that was representing me at the time. It was a one-off project which was really exciting and interesting to work on. In addition to designing the covers with my fellow artist friends (Jasmine Pradessito and Zdenek Konvalina), who also designed bespoke covers, we all got to design the fragrances for each of the products we worked on, so that was a lot of fun.
I am not a designer; this was a project that came up and was a good fit for each of us as fine artists. I have been exposed to an audience of Method addicts who would never have known my name before, and my work is now in many houses up and down the country and in some parts of Europe. This is something I did not anticipate ever happening because as a fine artist, my audience is quite niche. I am becoming much more environmentally aware through my work, specifically because of the links between #colonialism, neo-colonialism and environmentalism and these are issues I am now starting to explore in my studio practice with more intention and research.
Caroline@SD: You are well-known as an artist for your body painting work, what mediums do you use in your creations and what are the core influences behind the unique style of our artwork?
Adelaide Damoah: I use multiple mediums depending on what it is I am working on. In the studio on 2D work I use oil paint, acrylic ink, #24 carat gold and pigment. I use various image transfer techniques for working with archival photographs. I have recently started using cyanotype- an old photographic print process which produces a beautiful cyan- blue print.
In my performance practice, I often use my body as a tool and will work with oil paint and various props. Sometimes I incorporate oral recital with performances. At the core of my practice is the ancient Ghanaian concept of #Sankofa ( a proverb meaning it is important to go back and pick up that which is forgotten). In other words, it is important to learn from history in order that we do not repeat the same mistakes in the present. This concept directs everything I do. My main interests are colonialism, spirituality and #feminism.
Artwork by Adelaide Damoah
Caroline@SD: Why and when did you create BBFA Collective, where is it based, what are the main objectives for the collective?
Adelaide Damoah: The BBFA Collective was established in 2015 to address the lack of representation of black British females in the art world. The statistics for women artists represented in major institutions and galleries globally were pretty poor at the time, with significant improvements being made in recent years. However, statistics for black females seemed to be non-existent and as #blackwomen #artists, we felt it in our real-world experiences. By joining forces and giving ourselves a platform, we have created a louder voice for ourselves than we would have as individuals and have been able to collaborate on some amazing projects nationally and internationally as a consequence.
Our main objective is to ensure that each of us is able to have a self-sustaining career. Our ultimate aim is to be able to provide a support system and incubation programme for other artists of all ages who are new to the industry, professional, talented and hungry for career progression. We do not have a base. The four of us are based in London.
Caroline@SD: Everyone has faced some type of self-reflection processes during the pandemic lock down and more generally, the economic changes now upon us. As an artist how did you cope with this period, how are you finding the new COVID influenced culture we are in and what life changes have occurred for you as an artist and woman of colour during this period?
Adelaide Damoah: It was a strange time for everyone. People around me died, I had symptoms and my mother was sick with something non-COVID related, which landed her in hospital at the beginning of lockdown for a few days. It was a terrifying time. I coped by communicating more than I ever have before with friends and family. Zoom and various other video chat clients were used a lot. I set up two reading groups also on instagram; one of which I still run every Sunday.
During the lockdown, I did a lot of reading, self-reflecting, crochet and meditation. I eliminated negative relationships and focused only on relationships both professionally and personally which were genuine and caring.
Once I was well enough to go back to the studio, I found myself wanting to make work just for the pure joy of it, rather than how I usually work which is still very much a joyous exercise but is usually driven by heavy research and serious subjects.
This time, I was focused on process and colour only, using colours for how they made me feel rather than to convey a particular message. This was incredibly liberating, and this is a new strand that will now be an integral part of my practice. As for being a woman of colour, nothing has changed. I am still who I am, and I have always fought for the same things. Everyone else seems to have changed and become more aware than ever before in my lifetime of the issues that we face every day as black people.
More people are sensitive to the issues and responding to them. Not all of it is positive and the world seems to be becoming increasingly polarised. Or maybe it always was, it is just more visible now. A lot of it is positive though. I have hope.
Caroline@SD: In June this year, we faced a global awareness of anti-racism protests, emphasising social and ethnic injustice, hierarchical inequality and lack of visible diversity across all sectors and areas of the entire globe. How can this awareness be now manifested for artists of colour going forward in the UK?
Adelaide Damoah: It is a difficult question. The conversations I see happening now just could not have happened even a few months ago. I know of arts professionals working in major institutions who were being gaslighted regarding blatant incidences of racial discrimination and bullying in the workplace and now those same creatives are having their cases heard and investigated by the people who were gaslighting them a few months ago.
The gas lighters don’t know anything different today than they knew when the incidents occurred. Now a light is being shone on them, so they feel pressurised to act. Is that progress? So many of these things have come to light now but they were always there.
Institutions, galleries, brands, curators and artists, so many people are having conversations about decolonising an entire system.
Making the system more equitable. Some are talking and not doing. Some are doing. The only way these changes can be made permanent, is if they are written into policy. Other than that, we have to tear the whole system down and start again as the capitalist system is constructed to marginalise the have nots so that the haves can continue to have. To have the power, the money and the control. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know that there is a realistic answer.
I do know that real conversations are being had and that in some instances, real changes are being attempted. How permanent those changes will be remains to be seen. There has been a forced raising of consciousness which is undeniable.
How can these changes be manifested for artists of colour going forward? By keeping up the consciousness and making the effort to compensate and recognise people fairly. It really isn’t rocket science once you see the problem glaring at you like it is now.
Caroline@SD: What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Adelaide Damoah: I’ve just wrapped up my solo exhibition with the launch of a new series of work focused on mythology, spirituality and ritual. I will be continuing with this series it’s called “Dreams of Overcoming”. I’m currently researching for my ongoing Confronting Colonisation project and creating a series of work to balance out the seriousness which is simply focused on process and the joy of colour.
Dreams of Overcoming by Adelaide Damoah No. 2 & 10 Cyanotype. Gun pigment, ink and 24 carat gold leaf on hand made watercolour paper.
For more information on Adelaide's work visit
The Art Collection by Method consists of three product ranges, each
featuring bespoke works of art created in partnership with three inspirational MTArt Agency artists. AdelaideDamoah, Jasmine Pradissito and Zdenek Konvalina.
This article was first published in October 2020.
The article has been updated January 20th, 2021
Caroline S. Asante