Fowokan George Kelly
b. 1943, Kingston, Jamaica
Lives and works in London, England
Born in Kingston Jamaica, Fowokan migrated to the UK in 1957, attending secondary school in Brixton where, among his teachers, was Stuart Hall (the late Professor). He became a sculptor after working as a musician, playing with several bands, including Symande. Whilst working as Jimmy Cliff’s sound engineer on his first tour of Nigeria, Fowokan encountered the wealth of sculptures from Benin and Nok. Returning to London, he decided to give up music and taught himself sculpting techniques. As his work gained attention and the quality of his technique improved, he adopted the Yoruba name, ‘Fowokan’, meaning ‘one who works with his hands’.
Fowokan has exhibited widely including in the iconic group exhibitions of Black British Artists of the 1980s and 1990s and in their important group exhibition held at the Guildhall Art Gallery in 2015. By Invitation, Fowokan became a member of the Society of Portrait Sculptors, exhibiting in their annual exhibitions, as well as that of annual summer exhibitions held at the Royal Academy. Among his international exhibitions are the Cuban Biennale and the Studio Museum Harlem. Fowokan's works are in held in private and public collections in the UK, Europe and the US.
Fowokan also expresses his creativity through poetry, prose, photography and videography. His writings have been published and vignettes of his video documentaries have been shown on BBC Breakfast with several on YouTube. His works have featured on television: BBC (Artsnight 2014 and When I came to Britain part 4: 2004) and Chanel 4 (The Empire Pays Back 2005).
The biography Becoming Fowokan: The Life and Works of Fowokan George Kelly, by Margaret Andrews, was published in January 2022.