Artist Amoako Boafo to paint Uplift triptych on Blue Origin rocket exterior

Example of the Blue Origin New Shepard carbon-fiber panel that will be painted by Amoako Boafo to create the Suborbital Triptych.  (Image credit: Uplift Aerospace)
Example of the Blue Origin New Shepard carbon-fiber panel that will be painted by Amoako Boafo to create the Suborbital Triptych. (Image credit: Uplift Aerospace)

Earlier this year, a prominent lifestyle magazine ran a profile of figurative painter Amoako Boafo, hailing his stratospheric rise among the upper echelons of the art world. Little did they know at the time, the stratosphere would only be the start for where the 37-year-old Ghanaian's art was headed.

As announced on Thursday (July 29), Boafo will create Uplift Aerospace's first Suborbital Triptych, a three-panel painting that will fly into space on the outside of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket. Through the physical stresses of its launch and re-entry, Boafo's artwork will be changed both literally and figuratively creating a unique record of the flight.

Josh Hanes, chief executive of Uplift Aerospace, said, the profound strength of Amoako's portraits for the first Suborbital Triptych will bring another dimension to the power that propels the New Shepard rocket.

Boafo's art combines brushwork with finger and hand painting to capture the mood of his subject's creatives, friends, and other members of his social circle who inspire him. His portraits, which have been celebrated for his approach to shaping the Black form, have gone from being almost unheard of to sell for more than $1 million at Christie's in the period of only a few years.

Boafo's works were recently acquired by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Albertina Museum Vienna, and Rubell Museum. Featured among emerging leaders in the TIME 100 Next 2021, Boafo is also an ambassador for Dior as the first African to work with the fashion house.

Boafo, reflecting on his selection for the Uplift Art Program, to create a painting that will launch into space is unimaginable, and frankly surreal. I wish one day to experience what my characters will see. It is an honor to be invited to a project of this latitude.

Slated to liftoff on an uncrewed New Shepard flight scheduled for this fall, Boafo's Suborbital Triptych will be applied directly to three carbon-fiber panels that will cover the parachutes used to return Blue Origin's space capsule to the ground. The same type of panels was in use earlier this month for the flight that sent Blue Origin's founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, Mercury 13 pilot Wally Funk and Blue Origin's first paying passenger, Oliver Daemen, on the company's first human launch.

Uplift Aerospace, which announced its partnership with Blue Origin in September 2020, is planning to use Boafo's Suborbital Triptych to raise awareness and funds for charities that it and the artist supports. In conjunction with Boafo's artwork, Uplift will make a charitable contribution to nonprofit organizations with a focus on supporting conservation and healthcare for all.

Prior to the launch, Uplift will also announce Boafo's chosen beneficiaries, which will share in the spotlight and accept Uplift's donation at a ceremony planned for after the Suborbital Triptych returns to Earth.

Boafo's Suborbital Triptych is being funded by Uplift Aerospace. It will be curated by the Uplift Art Program for public display and exhibition.

Hanes said, artists, have a unique capacity to evoke fresh perspectives and interpret unfamiliar terrain. The purpose of the Uplift Art Program is to inspire new ideas and generate dialogue by making space accessible and connected to human experiences.

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