Artist In Residence

Yaw Owusu: A Penny, for What It’s Worth

Artist, Yaw Owusu opens at ICA San Diego, African American Flag, . Us Oxidized Pennies On Canvas , Museums Visit in Encinitas
Yaw Owusu Image(c) Frederico Savini

ICA North

Friday, September 9, 2022 -
Sunday, November 20, 2022

Meet The Artist: September 9, 2022 - October 9, 2022 Saturdays - Sundays, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Artist in Residence

The Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego (ICA San Diego) is excited to announce Yaw Owusu as the first Artist-in-Residence of our 2022-2023 Season Limitless Growth, Limited World, marking the artist’s first solo exhibition in San Diego.

What is the value of a penny? This question is at the center of Artist-in-Residence Yaw Owusu’s exhibition A Penny, for What It’s Worth in which Owusu deconstructs the exchange rates of copper through the different stages of being; from raw material, to monetary value, to art, to the art market.

Art lovers can observe Owusu’s elaborate artistic process as he employs unique techniques for oxidizing pennies, altering the copper coins into varying hues of bronze, blue, gold, green, pink, black and white for his visually striking sculptural wall pieces. 

Owusu’s transformation of something as common as a penny into pieces of art captures new perspectives on value when recontextualized. The copper used in the construction of pennies has doubled in value since 2016, and due to inflation is worth more than the penny itself. By uniting the raw material with the penny’s monetary value, Owusu transforms the depreciated copper into art objects whose value is decided by social, cultural, and economic exchange.


Meet the Artist

Come by and say hi! Owusu will be “in residence” September 9 – October 9, 2022. You can visit him at his studio Saturdays – Sundays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity where you can  see his process in person, learn about his practice, ask him questions, and experience a unique and personal understanding of what it means to create art today!


Contribute to the exhibition!

If you are interested in contributing to Owusu’s art practice we welcome penny donations at both ICA San Diego campuses. Leave them at the front desk Thursday – Sunday at both locations!



Born in 1992 in Kumasi, Ghana, Yaw Owusu received his BFA in painting from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana and an MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. He currently lives and works in New York and Accra.

A Penny, for What It’s Worth is part of the new exhibition season, Limitless Growth, Limited World, in which 11 local and international artists use contemporary art to portray possibilities and conversations about what we value and consume, and its impact on the environment and culture.