Philip Kwame Apagya
“When emigrating from their home countries to [what we call] the West, many Africans are fueled by the ideology that this shiny, new and (obviously) better way of life only exists within their destinations of Europe or North America.

Ghanaian Photographer Philip Kwame Apagya reckons with these beliefs in his studio photography, using vibrantly hand-painted backdrops to critique and caricature “Western life.”

The son of a photographer who would later study Photojournalism, Apagya was raised in a studio environment as his father’s apprentice. In doing so, he soon realised the infinite creative possibilities to be found within this confined space - as exhibited through this clever series of images. While these portraits present themselves as comedic, rich in color and humor; a deeper message sits within the frame. Apagya places his models [delightedly] within the grandeur of typically “western” environments - ranging from suburban living rooms and luxurious mansion bathrooms to computer-clad office spaces. However all of this pomp and splendor is still rendered within a flat and cartoonish two-dimensional backdrop, hand painted in studio. In doing so, Apagya bluntly exposes the superficiality of these environments and our understanding of them, cutting through the Western superiority complex by reducing the allure of such opulence to the materialistic mirage it often stands to be.”

- Kamau Wainaina