Over the last few years, Ghanaian artists have started to gain more recognition from the global creative industry. Painters, sculptors, animators, and other visual artists from the West African country have used social media to share their talents with the world and the beauty of their nation. Last month, a group of Ghanian artists made a big splash with an exhibit presented at the highly prestigious art event, Venice Biennale. The exhibit titled "Ghana Freedom" was curated by Ghanian Writer and Art Historian, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, and housed in a structure designed by British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye.
The art exhibit received quite a lot of praise and is said to represent a major shift happening in Ghana's art industry. "The idea of having artists across generations -- from Selasi Awusi Sosu to Ibrahim Mahama and right up to Felicia Abban, who is in her 80s -- really provides a range of voices to this conversation," Oforiatta Ayim told CNN. "I chose to show half male, half female, half rooted in Ghana and half in the diaspora, which is a small selection of our country's artists but presents as pluralistic an idea as possible."
The Folklore composed a list of seven Ghanian artists that you should know. These artists have proven their artistry through their creative ways of educating the public on Ghana's history.
Serge Attukwei Clottey
Serge Attukwei Clottey is a Ghanian artist who is best known for his plastic patchwork installations, performance, charcoal portraits, photography and sculpture. Due to his concern for the environment he created the concept "Afrogallonism" where he repurposes waste. With his project "Afrogallonism" Serge discusses mass consumption and the environmental effects of global trade.
Zohra Opoku is an artist of German and Ghanaian descent based in Accra. Her photography examines the cultural and socioeconomic influences in the formation of personal identities in contemporary Ghana. Each of her images tell a story that helps civilians to better understand the cultural values in Ghana. Her focus on textiles in her photography showcases how much pride she has for her culture.
Bright Ackwerh is a 28 year old Ghanian satirical artist who creates pieces that illicit a response from consumers. Ackwerh work tends to focus around sociopolitical and social issues. Art is meant to evoke certain emotions whether it's good or bad and that is exactly what his art does. Bright Ackwerh uses painting, illustration and street art to create his satirical statements.
Ama ‘Poetra’ Diaka
Ama Diaka is a poet, performer, illustrator, and designer. She is truly the epitome of a multifaceted artist. Ama Diaka is mainly known for using her voice to discuss topics surrounding inequality, feminism, and mental health. As an artist she leads educational programs for the youth with the non profit LoveRocks to help them comprehend these topics.
Adjo Kisser uses her artwork to create conversations surrounding gender roles in her environment. She uses a lot of intricate details in her work which makes it visually appealing to the public. Adjo Kisser has participated in many exhibitions including the Voyage of (Re)Discovery at Nubuke Foundation at the Ussher Fort at James Town in Accra where her work titled "The Portrait Series" was being showcased.
Kwame Akoto-Bamfo is a Ghanian sculptor who's work revolves around the ancestral trauma that the civilians in Ghana faced. He puts great detail into his sculpture to truly convey the stories from the past. Throughout the years his work has been gaining more recognition. One of his outdoor sculpture is currently on display at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice that opened in 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Paa Joe is a Ghanian fantasy coffin artist. He is known for his figurative coffins that draw from the traditional Ghanaian custom of abebuu adeka. Paa Joe is one of the most important Ghanian artist of his generation. His work has been showcased all around the world in Japan, Europe, and the USA. Paa Joe definitely sets the bar for thinking outside the box with the interesting designs he creates for the coffins like the sandal coffin he created in collaboration with Regula Tschumi for the Kunstmuseum Berne 2006.