Sharon Obuobi is a dynamic mix of cultures and creative interests. The Ghanaian-born art influencer who was raised between Accra and Toronto, now resides in London. With her background in business, she’s sharing engaging narratives of artists through her IN STUDIO series. We sat down with Sharon to find out more about her series and journey so far.
Q: What were your earliest encounters with art, and how did you develop your interest?
A: My father is an artist, and I grew up looking over his shoulder as he created art. I started with drawing and painting, and I was very good at it. During my second year of business studies in university, I began to actively explore the art world online. I discovered some short films online, and I started to write a blog to document what I was learning.
Q: What are some of the first steps you took to explore a career in the arts?
A: After graduating, I took on a few internships in various parts of the art industry. I was an intern at a few museums, an art PR firm, and an art gallery. These were valuable experiences through which I had the chance to study different sectors in the art industry. As a result, I developed a comprehensive perspective on what interested me, and what I could excel in.
Left: Pensive, with ‘Wedding Souvenirs’ by Njideka Akunyili Crosby; Right: With Robert Therrien’s sculptural works at Parasol Unit
(Images via @RoseofSharonO
Q:What’s your favourite part of what you do now in the auction world?
A: I love the combination of art and business. It’s fascinating and challenging in an exciting way. I have the chance to apply my business understanding to the process of handling art on the market. We need business to fund the arts, and I’m interested in the various ways that this can happen.
Q: Tell me more about your IN STUDIO series, and the artists you’ve highlighted.
A: IN STUDIO with Sharon Obuobi, is an ongoing conversational series in which I explore the journeys, and creative processes of artists and curators. Previous features have included Ibrahim Mahama, who exhibited at the Venice Biennale; Elisabeth Sutherland, a Ghanaian performance artist; Hans Ulrich Obrist, director of the Serpentine Gallery; Sokari Douglas Camp, a Nigerian sculptor; Atta Kwami, an abstract painter; and Joel Andrianomearisoa, a Malagasy mixed media artist.
Above: With work by Ibrahim Mahama at White Cube, London
(Image via @RoseofSharonO)
Q: Who are some of your favourite artists today?
A: My favourite artists are some of the ones I’ve featured on IN STUDIO, and others that explore pertinent themes in the most creative ways. When I started writing about art, I was first intrigued by Brazilian artist, Beatriz Milhazes. I loved her use of vibrant colour and the display of organic form. I adore the work of African and diaspora women artists like Sokari Douglas Camp, Lynette Yiadom Boakye, Toya Odutola, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. They make me excited to be an African woman in the arts.
Q: How do you stay inspired and motivated through challenges?
A: I learn from the journeys of various women like Oprah Winfrey and Sheryl Sandberg. I’m inspired by reminders that everything is a process, and I am encouraged by the enduring strength and determination of women who break barriers to achieve their dreams.
Left: Tschabalala Self’s exhibition on black female sexuality; Right: Admiring the dynamic art of the late Zaha Hadid (Images via @RoseofSharonO)
Q: What does #HERCollective mean to you?
A: I’ve been a friend of Talya, who’s inspired me with her ongoing support of women creators. I believe that women are stronger together, through mutual support. I love that #HERCollective provides a platform for mentorship and collaboration.
Sharon Obuobi is a London based art writer and innovator currently working at Sotheby’s in Modern African Art. She works with art collectors on new acquisitions and assists in the coordination of art auctions. You can connect with her via her website, instagram, or twitter.