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08.03.2007 Obituaries

Saka Acquaye Passes On

By Daily Graphic
Saka Acquaye Passes On
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Saka Acquaye, painter, sculptor, textile designer, teacher, arts administrator dramatist and musician has finally taken a bow from the activities of this world.

And when at the end of this year the curtain closes on the activities of the 50th anniversary celebrations, what we will have of him would be memories of his exploits and his works, which brought pleasure to millions of people in the world.

Saka died on the evening of Tuesday February 27, after a prostrated illness.

Born in Accra on November 2, 1923, he was educated at the Achimota Teacher Training College from 1943 to 1946 and then Achimota Art School from 1947 to 1949 where he studied music, art and craft.

He undertook further studies in art sculpture and industrial design at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, USA between 1953 and 1956.

Saka also took a two year course in advertising and Public Relations at the Charles Morris Price School in 1957 to 1959.

In 1964 to 1966 he majored in opera and theatre arts at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Recognised as the doyen of sculpture in the country and having mastered the various techniques of the art, he subsequently narrowed his interest down to modelling in clay.

And in the 1970s and 80s he went back to casting his works on fibre glass because he felt that the material has a lot more to offer.

Thus for some of the props for the Ghana Dance Ensemble he worked with David Amoo using fibre glass.

As a dramatist his most notable plays Hintin Hintin, Obadzen, Makola Scholarship, Sasabonsam and The Lost Fishermen, which opened again a few weeks ago after 19 years, brought a lot of joy to theatre enthusiasts.

In the area of music his association with the Wulomei, the Ga Folk instrumental, which he directed can be well remembered.

He founded the Black Beats Band in 1952 but left the group when he had to pursue courses in the USA.

In the US he formed the African Ensemble in 1954 and had the privilege of performing with the group at many venues and was proud of the fact that he managed to make an impact there with the group.

Saka taught art at the St. Augustine's College, Cape Coast for two years in the 50's and was a Chief Promoter of the arts at the Ghana Institute of Art and Culture, which later became the Arts Council of Ghana.

Among his portfolio of impressive works are the J.B. Danquah monument at the Danquah, Circle, art work at the banking hall of the Bank of Ghana and the Guggisberg monument at the Korle bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.

Others are the Guggisberg, Fraser and Aggrey busts at Achimota School in Accra, Large wooden carving in the Johnson Wax Conference centre at Rancine, USA and another large wooden carved door at the African-American Heritage Association, Wayne University, Detroit, USA.

Saka is survived by four children Saamoa, Nii Akwei, Aku Sika and Mami Yaa Acquaye. According to family sources his funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Story by Nii Addokwei Moffatt