Kofi Allen

Kofi Allen is an artist, photographer and cultural investigator. Born in Jamaica in the 60s but brought up in the UK much of his work is concerned with the Jamaican and black experience in modern London. Kofi alongside his own personal projects has exhibited internationally and his work is held in the permanent London collections of the Hayward Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.

Themes of spirituality and discovery run through Kofi's work which is a direct reflection of the experiences and interests of the man. Kofi is an energetic, cultural explorer who is continually questioning his surroundings. A keen interest in the past and development of civilisations informs rather than opposes his documentation and interpretation of modern society. The series "Metropolis" which include works such as Con-Struction and City on a shoestring was featured on the cover of the international contemporary writing magazine Wasafiri with an in depth article detailing Kofi's work.

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Kofi Allen

Each work in the Metropolis series stands independent with regards to its interpretation City on a shoestring parleys the mismatch of the landscape of London docklands with its tall corporate building and weekday occupancy compared to the people who live there. The same comes through with Spiralling Ghetto a rundown block in Ghana situated next to a slum town which Kofi came across on a visit to the town. Kofi however is not however trying to make a comment on the rich verses the poor but about something more delicate than that. The places we live in are reacting organism, regeneration is a good idea but as with many cases when it does not consider the existing landscape and by proxy its residents it can cause wider division rather than unity and progression.

The work Re-Legion may seem like the outsider piece constructed of fragments of churches around London but it falls very much into the same reasoning as the rest of the Metropolis series. Kofi is not religious but spirituality is very important to him. Re-Legion expresses the frustration with organised religion which is tainted by bureaucracy and politics.

As with the rest of the Metropolis series the underlying theme that runs through the work is: there can be no positive progression when those in charge try to benefit the lives of the people, when they have no true understanding of the people's needs.

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