Wooden sculpture by Dr. Oku Ampofo
Oku Ampofo (1908–1990) sculpted Asase Due for the African Room. The work, composed of exotic Afzelia wood, portrays a mourning woman with her hands over her head, deploring political assassinations and all forms of violence. Asase Due was inspired by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Ampofo trained as a physician in Edinburgh, Scotland, but took up sculpture as a hobby during medical school. When he returned to Ghana to practice medicine, Ampofo knew his patients could not pay him, so he began creating and selling wood sculptures to finance the medical practice.
Ampofo’s works were generally executed in multi-colored hard woods or cement and terrazzo. They frequently portray cultural and socio-religious aspects of the Ghanaian way of life. Ampofo used traditional African concepts that combine emotional content and form. Body proportions are exaggerated and show great expression to project communication.