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Gabriel Eklou: The Black Star Of Ghana Art District

Safia Dickersbach
5 September 2013 | Art & Culture

SHOWCASE and Bureau Africa have now released the film interview with Gabriel Eklou on THIS IS AFRICA, the 3rd interview in their series of film interviews with prominent Ghanaian contemporary visual artists under the title "The Black Stars of Ghana - Art District". The interview with Gabriel Eklou followed on the initial episodes about Wiz Kudowor and Ablade Glover.

The interview series which is currently internationally launched uses the internet to introduce the representatives of contemporary Ghanaian art to a global audience. For both art lovers and art experts it provides a fast and concise insight into today's contemporary Ghanaian art scene.

Gabriel Eklou was born in 1966 in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. He spent most of his childhood in Togo. He went to school in Togo, Benin and Ghana where he was trained in accounting.

Gabriel Eklou had been working as an accountant for many years when he realized that he would never be fully happy in this profession. He decided to make a radical cut and to 'divert to art', as he says, and became a full-time professional painter in 1996, a moment in which his 'heart went stable'. Over fifteen years later Gabriel Eklou cannot imagine his life to be any different.

The paintings of Gabriel Eklou draw upon symbolic imagery of Ghana's cultural heritage and rearrange them in earth-coloured compositions with characteristically shaped figures, tall, thin and stretched. When those tall people graciously sit, stand or move in a typical African landscape or urban scenery depicted in light earthy tones, they embody a refreshingly new expression of what represents and constitutes African daily life.

Most of his works show Adinkra symbols, those ancient Akan visual symbols which have a long tradition in Ghanaian culture and which are used to express concepts and aspects of daily life and to convey traditional wisdom. They are a part of the dialectic contrast appearing in Gabriel Eklou's pictures between an ancestral African symbolism and a portrayal of daily Ghanaian life in a very modern uniquely personal visual style.

Gabriel Eklou is proud to be called an African artist. Different from some contemporary artists who emphasize their geographical autonomy, Gabriel Eklou calls Africa "the beginning and the base" of his artistic work. Africa has been the inspiration of many artists in the world, but he belongs to the few who can rightfully call the African continent the source and ground of their life as an artist, as Gabriel Eklou is a contemporary visual artist working and based in Ghana.

All episodes of "The Black Stars of Ghana - Art District" will simultaneously be broadcast on This Is Africa and on Bureau Africa TV's Youtube Channel: http://bit.ly/18tBnhm

GABRIEL EKLOU facebook album: http://on.fb.me/19jUwDE
SHOWCASE facebook page: http://on.fb.me/19WevwC
More about the project "THE BLACK STARS OF GHANA - Art District": http://bit.ly/16ejiHb

3rd Episode / interview GABRIEL EKLOU:

BAOBAB IN THE WIND, 102 X 127 CM, 2013

DREAM LAND, 127 X 102 CM, 2013

HORSEMAN, 86 X 56 CM, 2007

RENDEZVOUS, 102 X 127 CM, 2013

TRAVELLER, 97 X 76 CM, 2007

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Art & Culture

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