The vibrant, bold and colourful paintings of Isshaq Ismail explore and investigates how the social, cultural, and political aspects of the modern world impact identity. Ismail paints faces and figures in impasto, typically depicting them with accentuated grotesque features and using black, brown, Blue, Purple, Green, Ochre and Red hues. His portraits also reflect his interest in themes such as desire, resilience, power, Joy and hope; they tell stories and universal truths about societies around the world.  Ismail studied at the Ghanatta College of Arts and Design, he lives and works in Accra, Ghana


I am interested in breaking the mould of painting by subverting and interrogating the preconceived notion of the idea of beauty within the canon of painting, primarily figurative painting, and challenging the perception of aesthetics.

Desire, longing, wonderment, strength, resilience, power, Joy and hope can be seen in the face and figures of my work. I employ thick, loose, flat and cryptic gestural brushstrokes of Acrylic paint without inhibition, fear or conformity, like the way a sculptor sculpts human figures from clay, I sculpt my figures with the brush. I describe my vibrant, boldly coloured, thickly impastoed figuration as "Infantile semi-abstraction"

The images I create become metaphors of people's sentiments and also serve as protagonists to represent the masses and advocate for the voiceless. Not trash, but people. Not remnants, but lives - look closer and they will tell you their stories.


Born 1989, Accra, Ghana

Lives and works in Accra, Ghana


2012  CERTIFICATE Painting, Ghanatta College of Art and Design, Accra, Ghana


2018  Layers at Nicholas Roman Fine Art, New York, USA


2021  BLACK EXCELLENCE - BLACK ELEGANCE, Ross-Sutton Gallery, 345 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida, USA

2021  (West) African Renaissance with Gallery 1957 in collaboration with Christie's, Dubai, UAE

2021  All Africa Festival Burj Park Downtown Dubai by EMAAR, Artwork presented by kuenyehia Trust for Contemporary Art  and showcased by Efie Gallery

2021  "AWAKENING" (Nature's Safe Charity  in support of Animals facing extinction) curated by Aubrey Higgin, Noho Studios, London

2021  SAY IT LOUD 2 (Visionaries of Self) curated by Destinee Ross-Sutton, Christie's New York, USA

2021  Gallery extended 1-54 NY presentation, Ross-Sutton Gallery, New York, USA

2020  "BLACK VOICES: Friend of My Mind" at Ross - Sutton Gallery, New York, USA.

2020 SAY IT LOUD (I'm Black and I'm Proud)" curated by Destinee Ross-Sutton, Christie's New York, USA

2020  Cgunu/Nkambom, Cape Town, South Africa

2019  BLAU! FISCHE! at To Live is To Choose Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany

2019  Various Artists at To Live is To Choose  Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany

2019  Celebration of Australia Day in collaboration with the National Museum Australia and Gertrude Foundation at Australian High Commission, Accra, Ghana

2018  To celebrate the visit to Ghana of Their Royal Highnesses The prince of Wales and The Duchess of  Cornwall organized by the British High commission in Ghana at Jamestown cafe, Accra, Ghana

2018  AC1 (African Contemporary One) at Nicholas Roman Fine Art, New York, USA

2018  African Day Summer Show at WTC The Hague Art Gallery, Netherlands

2017  Orange week Fuse It at Netherlands Embassy, Accra, Ghana 

2016  Barclay’s L'Atelier Finalists Show at Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2016  Holland & Ghana Growing Together at Netherlands Embassy, Accra, Ghana

2013  National Museum, Accra, Ghana


2021  Waterhouse & Dodd at Art Miami

2021 Westbund Art & Design Fair Shanghai with Bloom Galerie in collaboration with HDM Gallery

2019 St - Art, the Contemporary Art and Design fair of Strasbourg with La Galerie Florence, France

2019 Art Montpellier Fair  with La Galerie Florence, Beziers, France

2019  Arte Fair with To Live is To Choose Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany


Private Collections


2020, Crit Lab, Foundation For Contemporary Art, Accra, Ghana

2018, Chalewote Art Festival, Accra, Ghana

2017, Chalewote Art Festival, Accra, Ghana

2015, Imago Mundi (Contemporary Artists from Ghana)

2014, 32/64/90 World cup Art project with Uniform creative

Consultancy UK - Selected Ghanaian Artist


2020  Quarantine Residency, Isshaq Ismail Studio (Accra, Ghana)


2019  Shortlisted for GUBA (USA) Influential Artist Award

2016  Barclays L'Atelier Art Competition, Johannesburg, South Africa -Top 100 finalists

2016  Kuenheyia Art Prize, Accra, Ghana - Top 10 finalists

2015  Kuenheyia Art Prize, Accra, Ghana -Top 10 finalists