Ghanaian artists show off classy works at Kaleidoscope

By Ghana l l Malik Abass Daabu
General News Ghanaian artists show off classy works at Kaleidoscope
MAR 25, 2013 LISTEN

It was a moment of endless photography, constant staring and bubbly discussion on a windy evening in an Accra city hotel, the La Villa Boutique Hotel located in the densely populated Osu suburb.

The event was the Kaleidoscope, an art exhibition, put together by a private company, the Ghana Contemporary Ltd.

On display were works of eight brilliant artists including the legendary Larry Otoo, the talented Kwame Osa and Jeremiah Quarshie.

Art enthusiasts strutted repeatedly from one end to another of the narrow open-air elevated space overlooking the forested pool of the hotel not having enough of the creative works hanging on the walls.

Managing Director of Ghana Contemporary Ltd., Leeni Ojaniemi, told the patronage had exceeded her expectations.

Seeing people's faces glimmer and others' jaws drop, for her was testament to the awesome beauty of the works on display.

Entranced with his eyes intently fixated on Jeremiah Quarshie's Village Tech painting, politician, Nii-Allotey Brew Hammond, said “this is creative; this is fascinating.”

The painting depicts a girl and her mother in a rural setting, sitting on stools. The mother has a laptop placed on another stool in front of her. She leans anxiously to look at something her daughter is showing her on a mobile phone. In front of the girl, dressed in a cloth tied around her neck with a headscarf and sitting on a stool, barefooted, is a grinding bowl, locally called Asanka with its grinder sticking out. Placed beside this grinding bowl is bottle of palm oil. Obviously the girls is cooking in a traditional setting but having a go at technology, something Mr. Hammond said he was struck by.

The effective blend of the traditional and the contemporary in the painting to communicate the evolving nature of the society for him was extremely fascinating.

The creator of this brilliant piece of art, Mr. Quarshie, is a 28-year-old graduate of the Kwame University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

“I take a closer look at my immediate environment, looking for aspects that are generally overlooked but make a strong visual element when highlighted. Since these are aspects of our daily social lives, they are seen as normal, yet when we take a more critical look, we recognize how immense these are. These aspects are strongly associated with commerce, social status, fashion and technology. These aspects create ironical contexts and complexities that are highlights of my work,” he says.

He was excited that the exhibition exposed his works and those of the other artists to both Ghanaian and foreign art enthusiasts with the potential to make sales.

“A number of people have expressed interest in buying some of my works and it is generally encouraging,” he told me.

Another piece of work that received applause was Kwame Osa's human face. A portrait of a typical African, with large bright eyes, pointed nose, and thick lips, this work, named Lure Me enthralled many patrons.

An expatriate with Finatrade Group, Thatch Morgan, said she had fallen in love with the painting.

Kwame Osa “has used colour in a very careful way,” she said. “It is not disorganized, it is not erratic, it is very sophisticated and intricate…in fact I love it so much I've commissioned him to do a smaller one for me because I don't have the space for this big version,” she added.

It is clearly very different artists that have been brought into one place but they share a lot of vibrancy, they share a lot of colour, they share a very unique perspective of the world that you wouldn't find anywhere but Ghana.

The legendary Larry Otoo's Polo panting and that of world leaders with captions got their fair share of attention.

The "alt"
Art enthusiasts and collectors did not regret the trouble. For them the exhibition was a perfect de-stressor. Even the uninitiated like me had something to cheer about.