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Actress to artist: Precious Kofi of South Africa breaks into Boulder’s art world with vivid abstracts

The mother of two is now creating art full time

Precious Kofi, a former South African actress and television personality, has now embarked on a career in the visual arts. The artist currently resides in Boulder and has had work featured in area galleries and art shows. (Natalia Cochrane Zueva/Courtesy photo)
Precious Kofi, a former South African actress and television personality, has now embarked on a career in the visual arts. The artist currently resides in Boulder and has had work featured in area galleries and art shows. (Natalia Cochrane Zueva/Courtesy photo)
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The work of South African contemporary artist Precious Kofi — who now calls Boulder home — is brimming with emotion and vivid homages to her home country. Her gripping abstracts, rich with color and motion, continue to garner praise from fans, critics and fellow creators.

Artist Precious Kofi poses in front of one of her paintings in Boulder in 2021. (Natalia Cochrane Zueva/Courtesy photo)

This isn’t the first time Kofi has been in the spotlight.

While the 34-year-old creative’s life is currently spent clocking hours in her Boulder studio and putting paint to canvas, it was once filled with voice-over work, plenty of camera time and strolls down the red carpet.

In 2006, she hosted her own talk show called “Keeping It Real with Precious.”

In 2007, she starred in the drama series “Divers Down,” about a group of young recruits who join the Navy. With guest roles in “Without A Trace,” “Tsha Tsha” and “Zone 14,” she continued to gain experience in the industry.

She was also cast as one of the lead voice characters — Keitu— in the South African animated series “URBO: The Adventures Of Pax Afrika.”

“Vigilant” (2021) by Precious Kofi. (Precious Kofi/Courtesy photo)

From making her artistic debut at Boulder Arts Week in the spring, where she was selected from 110 artists to display paintings she crafted in response to the March 22 Boulder King Soopers mass shooting to having her first solo show at the now-shuttered Refuge Art Gallery, Kofi’s jump into the visual art world continues to gain steam.

Her new artistic career has received attention from publications in South Africa, eager to spread the word about the television personality finding success in the States.

Kofi sees her work as a unifier of sorts. It’s her hope that through her pulsating pieces, onlookers can feel embraced, held and touched. She wants the pieces to provide comfort when words are not enough.

She is part of a group exhibit, “It’s not Black and White” put on by Ink Lounge in Denver, that features the work of 31 Colorado artists. Within the pieces, artists reflected on current social issues that mattered to them. Limited-edition screen prints from the show that opened earlier this month are being sold for $25 — with a portion of proceeds benefiting Black Love Mural Festival, which is taking place at Civic Center Park in Denver through Aug. 2, and Headwaters Protectors, an organization that helps provide water and trash services to Denver’s homeless population.

“Entanglement” (2021) by Precious Kofi. (Precious Kofi/Courtesy photo)

Prints of her piece “Childhood” can be purchased online at inklounge.com/exhibit-black-white.html.

Recently, Kofi was accepted into the prestigious Artist-in-Residence program at Chateau Orquevaux, where international creatives embark on an artistic journey within the breathtaking grounds located in Orquevaux, France.

We caught up with the mother of two to find out what inspired her to pursue her art on a greater scale, upcoming future collaborations and where she finds inspiration.

Daily Camera: I know formerly you had a successful career in television as a host and an actress. What inspired you to make the leap to full-time artist?

Precious Kofi: When I left my television career I had planned to be a stay-at-home mom until my kids were at school-going age. They’re now fully comfortable in their schooling life and after the unexpected 2020 that we all experienced, I decided to step fully into a career path I’ve always desired. Taking the leap into being a full-time artist is a gift of recognizing that we have this life to live and that I intend to live it fully and completely as who I believe myself to be.

Precious Kofi paints in her Boulder studio in spring 2021. (Natalia Cochrane Zueva/Courtesy photo)

DC: What prompted your move to Boulder and what do you love most about the arts community here?

PK: I moved to the Colorado about 10 years ago and during those years Boulder has been a point of interest. Once I visited, I felt at home for the first time while living out of South Africa. And, so I pitched our lives here and we stayed.

DC: I understand you are hoping to organize a show featuring work by African immigrants that now reside in Colorado for Africa Day 2022. What inspired this concept?

PK: The opportunity to collaborate with the African immigrant community in creating an installation that celebrates and represents our individual stories is an absolute gift. Even while living in South Africa, I have always admired immigrants and what we referred to as the immigrant mentality. Just knowing that people are building a life in a foreign nation, often without the known support of nearby family and connections. And, the chance to offer a large-scale artwork that is about togetherness — rather than an otherness — is exactly what our world needs in remembering that umntu ngumntu ngabantu, which translates to “I am because you are.”

Artist Precious Kofi in her Boulder studio in 2021. (Natalia Cochrane Zueva/Courtesy photo)

DC: Where do you glean inspiration from artistically and what are your latest pieces inspired by?

PK: My inspiration comes from doing the work. When I’m in the process of creating I’m inspired by the act of creation. A thought or a feeling can turn into an idea which builds into something bigger and maybe involves the direct collaboration of others to then ultimately be experienced by the viewer. This is why I am an artist. Because life itself is art. And we get to be creators of our individual realities whether or not that responsibility is acknowledged.

DC: Are there any creative or personal bucket-list goals you wish to achieve this year?

PK: So many I’m sure. The continual points on my list are to live each day fully. To sincerely show up for my work, to show up for myself as a person and to be a present witness of my children’s beautiful childhood. The awareness of these desires help in how I move in the world and how I participate in the community. The ultimate achievement is being alive in one’s life.