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Harmonious strength, 2013 Image Credit: Supplied

Kofi Agorsor is a painter, sculptor and musician. The well-known artist from Ghana is also a priest, whose responsibilities include counselling couples to help them deal with problems in their relationships. His first solo exhibition in Dubai, titled “Eternal Feeling”, reflects his experiences and his observations about human nature and human relationships.

Agorsor’s acrylic paintings are filled with the vibrant colours of Africa, but the emotions they speak about are universal. The figurative and abstract works express his admiration for women and his faith in the power of love.

Agorsor’s message is profound, but he conveys it in a simple and humorous way. His paintings tell the story of how two people meet and fall in love, and the ups and downs in their relationship. The story begins with scenes from a village market and a high-society party.

“Both these are places where a man and a woman can meet and fall in love. The people in the market place and the people at the jazz clubs, where I play with my band, come from different strata of society, but every love story is essentially the same,” he says.

In a painting titled “Katwalk”, the elongated lyrical figures of the models on the ramp show the beauty and grace of women. But in the next painting titled “Magnificent attraction” one woman stands out in a crowd indicating that the lover has eyes only for “the one” who his soul connects with.

The story unfolds with the man ardently wooing the woman, trying desperately to convince her of his love and the initial shyness of the woman to the acceptance. The titles of the paintings, “I am here because of you”; “When do I see you again?”; “You still hide from me?”; and “He’s in love with me”, articulate their feelings along this journey, which ends happily with two paintings titled “Where do we have our honeymoon?” and “Our baby is due”.

Agorsor often uses a tree to symbolise the woman. “Women bring peace to this world. And I feel a tree conveys the comforting, serene presence of a woman that every man is searching for,” he says. He has also used the symbol of trees with intertwined branches to express the unity and strength of the relationship between two people in love. But he has turned to abstract compositions to convey the state of harmony, peace and perfect bliss that the couple experiences.

“When they stop playing games and are united in their love, their life is filled with immense beauty and becomes like a harmonious musical symphony that cannot be expressed through words or images. It is a new beginning and the relationship must be nurtured by sharing and caring as I have shown in the paintings where the man is playing a song for her and she gets him his favourite fruits,” Agorsor says.

The theme of relationships is inspired by the counselling he does and by his keen observation of human behaviour. “People are surprised that despite dealing with troubled relationships all the time, I have such an idealistic and positive view about them. But my experience has shown me that sometimes relationships seem bad because people are impatient or stressed out.

“But this is a process, a natural cycle of life, and by going there we learn to be more patient and careful and the relationship will emerge stronger. Sometimes people think they are in a bad relationship but as time goes by, they realise that they are soul mates. ‘Eternal Feeling’ expresses my belief in the possibility of harmonious relationships between a man and a woman, and my conviction that even if things are bad, they will definitely get better. It is about finding the good in everything rather than dwelling on the bad. And reminding everybody of the beauty and power of love, which is the energy that renews us eternally,” he says.

Eternal Feeling will run at Baginskaya Gallery and Studio in Jumeirah Lake Towers until October 29.

Jyoti Kalsi is an arts enthusiast based in Dubai.