Purpose. Passion. Paint.

It is said that “The eyes are the window to the soul.” They never lie, betray, or dismay; often revealing the depths of our identity that are undiscovered, and even unknown to us.

As I stare into the eyes of Solomon Adufah’s ‘ Forbidden Knowledge’ portrait, I see beyond the young figure’s skin of black marble, emboldened by the emerald galactic backdrop and wild flora. I see something so ancient and prehistoric, that it seems to transcend time and space itself. Looking into these eyes; soft, yet strong, old, yet young, is like staring into the very soul of Africa.

Solomon Adufah is far from your typical visual artist. Hailing from Odumasi, a small rural village in the Eastern region of Ghana, he vividly recalls his humble beginnings as an artist, and what would signal the start of a long, and winding artistic journey.

“My passion for creativity started at an early age growing up in rural Ghana,” he shared. “As far back as I can remember, growing up in a village without electricity, I used to power a small black and white TV set with my uncle’s car battery to watch a cartoon and practice sketching characters. As a child, it was a small canon from which I was able to express myself creatively.”

After several years of honing and refining his artistic gift, Adufah relocated to Chicago to pursue a more traditional career as an architect. However, his deep passion and desire to be an artist overpowered his ambition of becoming an architect, and it wasn’t long before Adufah followed his heart, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) in Fine Art & Painting from Southern Illinois University. Despite the uncertainty that came from switching careers and taking a leap of faith, Adufah warmly informs me, “It’s been a remarkable journey so far and I’ve never looked back since making that decision.”

What first struck me about Adufah’s work; besides the grand scale and the intricate detailing of the bold tapestry of African textile and fabric that feature as the background of his paintings, was the sitters themselves. They intrigued and fascinated me with their endearing, and at times, defiant expressions. Adufah masterfully captured so m