Collect 2022 / 4 newcomers (The Design Edit)

by Charlotte Abrahams

Anthony Amoako-Attah, appearing with Bullseye Projects


The folds in Anthony Amoako-Attah’s material-defying glass panels are important. A Ghanaian-born PhD student at the University of Sunderland, Attah came to the UK in 2014 to do a Masters in glass, having specialised in ceramics in his home country. “I was the only black guy in the class,” he says, “and the only guy too. I couldn’t understand the accent, it was rainy and cold and I didn’t know anything about glass at all. The folds in my work speak of this sense of dislocation and my process of integration.”


Attah was first drawn to glass because of its associations with preservation and value. “Glass is a language people understand – when you go to museums or science labs, precious things are stored behind and beneath it,” he explains. “I was interested in using it to store my culture.” His lack of material knowledge was both a challenge (when he first arrived on the course, he spent 11 hours a day in the studio honing his technical skills) and an opportunity; not knowing the rules freed him to work in more unconventional, experimental ways.


The panels he is showing at Collect came out of both this learn-by-doing approach and his desire to capture his culture. “At home in Ghana, the colours and patterns of different fabrics tell stories and I wanted to create work in glass that looks like woven cloth as a way of talking about my identity,” he says. “These pieces are screen printed, using glass powders to give the matt finish. I create the designs in Illustrator, make a glass impression, then transfer the designs onto the screens. Every colour has its own screen and I take my time printing, it’s like I’m dancing.”


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February 24, 2022