“They’re filling in the gaps within my own memories”: Arthur Timothy on using art to explore his family history
Inspired by archival family photographs, Arthur's vivid paintings draw from his Ghanaian and Sierra-Leonean heritage.
- Joey Levenson
- 13 December 2022
The oil paintings of visual artist and architect Arthur Timothy are works which invite closer inspection. On first glance, their beauty is obvious – and on second glance, the rich details of Arthur’s world-building comes to life. Currently based in Bath, Arthur uses his Ghanaian and Sierra-Leonean heritage to influence the majority of his paintings. “I paint scenes from archival photographs found amongst my late father’s belongings, which has formed the basis of my first two exhibitions,” Arthur tells It’s Nice That. “By using these source materials of scenes from Ghana and Sierra Leone, I’ve found a way of capturing moments of a bygone era in colonial West Africa.”
It’s evident in Arthur’s paintings that the work serves as an exploration in to his own family’s history. “They’re filling in the gaps within my own memories, often bringing vivid colour to old black and white photos,” Arthur explains. His most recent work Postcards from a Promised Land on show at Gallery 1957 expands on this tribute to his heritage, letting vivid colours of the scene invite audiences in to the landscape. “It’s a turn primarily to the landscapes, nature and architecture of Sierra Leone, as well as local people and my own immediate family,” he concludes.
Arthur Timothy: The Way of the Cross. Courtesy of Arthur Timothy and Gallery 1957
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.