Patience and Purpose (2019)
Prince Gyasi is a photographer who produces conceptual storytelling that documents and creates awareness of the narratives of people he encounters in his native Accra, Ghana. His photographs engage with the most essential aspects of the human experience found across cultures and periods, such as fatherhood, motherhood, childhood (particularly the plight of orphans), education, and mental health. These portraits are placed against large swaths of bright, saturated colors that recall the language of advertising, a formal choice intertwined with his preferred medium of iPhone photography. Such use of color is oftentimes employed to portray painful African stories in a more beautiful and hopeful way and is informed by the artist’s condition of synesthesia that helps him turn his works into “colour therapy”.
In Patience and Purpose, two Black men wearing identical white tank tops are placed in a lush ultramarine background. Gyasi uses the colours to enhance his message: blue for calmness and white for victory. This is because the artist believes that instead of fighting the “process of life” one should embrace it, work hard, and focus everything on becoming a greater person. Such a message is underlined in the photograph through the two men looking in the same direction.