In celebration of this month’s Black History Month, London patchwork artist, Jo Aidoo, is showcasing her debut solo exhibition, Rebirth, at the London Lighthouse Gallery & Studio. Jo cleverly uses juxtaposed fabrics to create vibrant portraits of black, and white people, all whilst weaving in her African heritage.
Jo was born in Ghana but has lived in London for over 40 years. She began stitching around the age of seven as a form of expression. Having gone through and still experiencing many life challenges, including mental health issues, sewing creates an escape, soothing and relieving her mind.
After an invitation in 2021 by a charity supporting her to design a patchwork to use as their Christmas card cover, Jo first started creating patchwork squares, one of which they chose for their cards. This was a significant step for her career and becoming the artist she is today.
A life-changing moment happened as Jo looked at herself in the mirror and saw her face as a patchwork after being seriously ill with Covid in 2022. Truly inspired, a new idea was born. As soon as she was well enough, she replicated on canvas what she had seen in the mirror. Her own face was her first patchwork portrait. Since then, she was driven to use her patchwork skills to create portraits exclusively – many of famous people, friends and family.
“I love working with African fabrics which are very bright and colourful. Colour is the language that speaks to me as an African woman. My Ghanaian heritage illustrates the vibrancy of African textiles and fabric traditions. What’s more, my artistic and creative methods allow me to examine several themes including my families, my friends, people of power, and more recently landscapes, politically and socially related images and full body representations. It is an honour and privilege as an African woman to present my work as part of Black History Month.”Jo Aidoo
Rebirth, the new (free) exhibition by Jo Aidoo is at London Lighthouse Gallery & Studio (18 Lyell St, London City Island, London E14 0SZ) until 31 October 2023.