Amoako Boafo: Ghanaian artist makes history as one of the first Black men to have his artwork sent to space

Ghanaian international painter and visual artist, Thomas Amoako Boafo, a 37-year-old has been contracted to paint three panels of a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, a roundtrip space mission launching to space on August 26

This is the same rocket that sent Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (who is also an avid art collector) into orbit earlier this month.

In the autumn, Amoako Boafo will fly to Texas to paint his piece, dubbed the Suborbital Triptych, on three detachable panels that will be mounted to the rocket’s apex.

Amoako Boafo will make history as the first Ghanaian artist whose work will enter space following a successful trip.

“There are special paints. I can’t say more at this stage about the materials but soon!”, Boafo told The Art Newspaper.

“I am drawn to the idea of my works going into a new orbit, literally,” Boafo says. “This will further push my vision for my practice.

I am honoured to be one of the first Black men to have my work sent to space. I’m very excited to be a part of this from a historical standpoint.”

Amoako Boafo is conscious of his home country’s attitude towards space exploration in creating this piece:

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“Ghanaian people are interested in learning and observing faraway galaxies… and I think more importantly we are interested in relating it back to earth, by solving local problems. Ghana has one of the most advanced research programs, our national space agency’s history stretches back over a decade.”

In a statement by the chief executive officer of Uplift Aerospace, Josh Hanes, monitored by, he stated that “the goal of the Uplift Art Programme is to inspire new ideas and stimulate conversation by making space accessible and related to human experiences.”

Celebrating the achievement on social media, Amoako Boafo took to his Instagram handle and wrote:

”I am thrilled to be part of the first art commission of Uplift Aerospace, a pioneer of lunar technologies, inaugurating its new Uplift Art Program. To see your art go out into space will be surreal.

Thank you @upliftaerospace, @blueorigin, the curator Jill Clark and of course @marianeibrahimgallery and my studio for making this happen. Stay tuned!” 

Being a part of the Uplift art project, Boafo says, “signals to the rest of the world that Africa, African art and African artists are valuable enough to be a part of that [space travel] history. Also, it means a lot to me that my message of Black joy and self-determination is a part of it.”