‘Do You Feel What I Feel?’ Experiences of a Ghanian Artist

Eugene Ofori Agyei is a Ghanaian-born artist as well as an educator who is now living in the United States after immigrating in 2020. Before coming to the United States, Agyei graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2018 with a BA in industrial arts, majoring in ceramics. Agyei came to the United States to pursue his MFA in ceramics at the University of Florida College of the Arts. “My journey to the United States began when I decided to pursue a higher education in art after my college education at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi Ghana. I was drawn to the U.S. by its renowned ceramic programs and the opportunity to explore new artistic perspectives and techniques. It was a challenging transition being it immigration policies both embassy and airport, leaving behind the familiar sights and sounds of home, but it was also a transformative experience that broadened my horizons and shaped my artistic vision. Now, my work is used as a medium to express narrative, and it’s a powerful tool that brings community together,” says Agyei in a quote provided by Anthony Faris, Baccalaureate and Gallery Coordinator/Curator of Collections at Memorial Union Gallery. 

Agyei uses a multitude of mediums from African Batik fabrics to yarn to maps and common everyday items to display issues of material ritual, cultural identity, and displacement through his art. “One thing I love about Eugene’s work is his use of common objects that you are invited to read into. Each country, each city has objects that reflect their culture and stories. A viewer from America might have misunderstood parts of his sculptures because they are so dense with meaning, and we can’t know everything about a place or a person,” said Faris on what stands out about Agyei’s work. 

“Do You Feel What I Feel? Experience As A Ghanaian Living In The Diaspora” began its display at the NDSU Memorial Union Gallery on January 31 and will close on Thursday, March 14. As part of the closing show, Agyei will be visiting and giving a talk at 5:30 p.m. “NDSU brings in artists each year to share their creative visions with our community, and this year is very exciting to have Eugene come [to] talk about his experience of America from the Ghanaian point of view,” said Faris when speaking on the opportunity to have Agyei visit and display his art for the NDSU community. As part of Agyei’s visit, senior-level baccalaureate art and design students received visits and critiques from the artist on their own work. 

The Memorial Union Gallery will be displaying Agyei’s work during the closing show on Thursday, March 14 in the Memorial Union as well as hosting a virtual reception for this event, details provided on the NDSU Memorial Union website. Following Agyei’s display, a new exhibition called “Speculative Architecture” will be displayed, followed by student exhibitions from visual arts. 

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