Ghana’s iconic art

Thinking back at our short trip in Ghana back in March 2016 – one place my mind keeps wandering back to is the Artists Alliance Gallery in Accra.

On a short cab trip from our hotel we found this incredible space – in a building that isn’t readily identified as an art gallery or shop. Set in a grand old mansion or hotel building by the sea, the gallery was established back in the sixties by the well-respected Ghanaian artist Ablade Glover, and has since become one of the most important art venues in Ghana as it allows Ghanaian artists to sell their work directly to the public.

On display are paintings by established as well as new and upcoming artists – also many collectors’ pieces including ancient strip-woven Kente cloth, African masks, and intricately carved furniture. I covered the three floors filled with art within a couple of hours, and could have easily spent more time. I was impressed with the breadth of art pieces on display, including a style I was not familiar with – the ‘fantasy’ coffin (its making emerged in the Teshie suburb of Accra in the ’50s, around the time of independence).

Needless to say, I was in awe of the full-sized coffins in the shapes of crabs, running shoes and eagles!

The iconic ‘fantasy’ coffin


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