Protection II (2020)
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 Protection II, the artist places two men next to each other, looking at an unknown point outside of the picture frame. The light reflected on the men’s faces as well as the shadows of the fabric suggest that the two figures are facing the source of light. Ultimately, the photograph speaks to the notion of human respect, as Prince Gyasi enhances the colors surrounding the figures to crimson and and the foil enfolding the figures to gold. These enhancements connote royalty and nobility, and the effect has been heightened further through the intent gaze on the men’s faces so that they are not seen as migrants but as people worthy of honor.