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Visual artist Joseph Awuah-Darko accuses globally recognised artist, Kehinde Wiley of sexual assault
Joseph Awuah-Darko (left) accuses globally recognised artist, Kehinde Wiley of sexual assault
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Visual artist Joseph Awuah-Darko accuses globally recognised artist, Kehinde Wiley of sexual assault

A prominent Ghanaian artist, Joseph Awuah-Darko, has opened up about being sexually abused by renowned global painter, Kehinde Wiley.

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In an Instagram post on Sunday, May 19, the Ghanaian artist alleged Wiley assaulted him twice in June 2021.

"I was sexually assaulted by @kehindewiley. It almost destroyed me," Awuah-Darko wrote. "I hope my words and openness about my painful experience empower others to come forward. I hope all that unravels creates a path towards not only accountability, but recompense and collective healing for other victims."

According to him, while ushering Wiley and another dinner guest to the bathroom, he was allegedly groped by Wiley when the painter grabbed his buttocks and said "something along the lines of 'what is this thing?' “Awuah-Darko said he subsequently "placated the situation with awkward humor."

"The act was categorically unwelcomed and unprovoked – Wiley had barely known me for more than two hours by this point, and I was wearing a modest dark green kaftan," Awuah-Darko wrote. 

"I was stunned and concerned for two reasons: [A] this unsolicited act had occurred in Ghana at my place of work, and [B] it was done by a critically celebrated artist who knew the power he wielded and seemed clearly prepared to abuse it."

Awuah-Darko said Wiley assaulted him a second time, though he does not specify the circumstances surrounding the assault other than describing it as "more severe and violent."

 He also alleged that Wiley has a "pattern of predatory behaviour" that has been "treated as an open secret within the art world for quite some time."

He disclosed that he had barely known Wiley for more than two hours and was stunned by his actions.

He, however, prayed that Wiley will face the full rigours of the law as he claimed that there are several other victims of Kehinde Wiley’s alleged sexual assault behaviour.

All I can do is pray for the strength, resources and support to see justice through and hope that others come forward to put an end to this pattern of abuse,” he added.

Wiley’s response

Wiley responded to Awuah-Darko's allegations on his own Instagram post yesterday. 

He wrote, “Someone I had a brief, consensual relationship with almost three years ago is now making a false accusation about our time together," Wiley wrote. "I kindly ask for privacy as I work to clear my name.”

"These claims are not true and are an affront to all victims of sexual abuse," Wiley wrote. "I have no idea why he has decided to target me in this way – particularly when there is a litany of evidence showing his claims are false."

He concluded: "I hope he gets the help he needs for whatever he is going through."

 

 

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