By John Owoo/Africancolours.com
In a ceremony graced by diplomats, politicians, traditional leaders, funding agencies, artists, collectors as well as art critics, contemporary Ghanaian music and dance provided a subtle groove ambience, just apt for an important event as this was.
In his brief speech, Busumuru Kofi Annan praised the director of Artists Alliance Gallery, Professor Ablade Glover for his vision, dedication and devotion to the development and promotion of art and artists in the past four decades.
The new Alliance Gallery in Ghana
Describing the gallery as one of the flagships of art in Africa, he stated that the importance of historical, philosophical, religious, cultural and political messages emanating from works of art in any society cannot be overstated, adding that in some situations, artists have told stories that were avoided by journalists and other writers.
“Contemporary African Art,” said Kofi Annan, “has become the focus of several international art festivals in Europe and the United States”. He therefore called on Ghanaian artists, curators and promoters to strive hard to gain representation in these highly important festivals.
Former mayor of Accra and one of the largest art collectors in Ghana, Nat Nunoo Amarteifio, who was also the Master of Ceremony for the day, traced the history of art galleries in Ghana since the early 1960s to the present and called for an anthology on the operations and activities of art galleries since independence.
Former UN secretary General Koffi Anan presents a speech on the opening of the gallery.
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the three storey edifice is also host to numerous exhibition halls and shops, and can easily pass for a museum of contemporary art. The gallery itself is home to extremely evocative and thought provoking works by over three dozen contemporary artists from Ghana and other parts of the world.
These include: The Nigeria based Ghanaian academic and sculptor El Anatsui, director of ArtHaus Kofi Setordji; Osaka Triennial award winner Wiz Kudowor; US based academic and painter George Hughes; Hungarian bead maker Kati Torda Dagadu; French painter Charlotte Conrad; Australian artist Virginia Ryan; fantasy coffin maker Paa Joe and the Nigerian yarn painter Chief Oruntaba.
Others are Marigold Akufo Addo, Rikki Wemega-Kwawu, Betty Acquah, Ben Agbee, Robert Aryeetey, Kofi Asante, Emmanuel Adiamah, Larry Otoo, Kwame Amoah, Owusu Ankomah, Nii T. Mils, Seth Clottey, Tetteh Mpata, Augustine Gokah, Samuel Opoku and Nanart Agyeman.
An acclaimed painter in his own right, Professor Ablade Glover is a former Dean of the College of Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. Trained in Ghana, United Kingdom and the United States, he is the recipient of the Distinguished AFGRAD Alumni Award by the African American Institute in New York.
Kofi Annan on a guided tour of the gallery
His paintings, which glow with movement and colour, begin with simple shapes but accumulate weight through repetition creating dynamic images out of seemingly static planes. This technique is also applied in his figurative painting of women as well as rustic scenes, which are rich with fragmented surfaces.
A life fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London, UK, the universality of his work is reflected in the breath and variety of his exhibitions, which encompass a wide range of cities and towns in diverse countries.
His work is represented in major public and private collections around the world. These include the Imperial Palace collection of Prince and Princess Takamado of Japan, UNESCO Headquarters in France and the O’Hare International Airport in the United States.
The programme was sponsored by the Ford Foundation.
Posted By: Diana Achieng
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