Conversations With Juni Ba On His Afrofuturist Space Adventure Comic Kayin And Abeni

It’s always exciting to see African comics evolve away from the superhero genre into more imaginative and artistically daring terrain. Comics such as Wrath House by the Kalu brothers, Kudzai Gumbo’s Paper Angels, Nkarim Chronicles, Setor Fiadzigbey’s Lake of Tears, Collyde Prime’s Misfits, Fumar Mota’s Disciples and Paul Louise-Julie’s Yohance among others capture this quite beautifully. Continue reading “Conversations With Juni Ba On His Afrofuturist Space Adventure Comic Kayin And Abeni”

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GUBA Awards 2017: Another Step for Ghanaian Animation

The mantra for a while has been to change the future of African movies through storytelling and an excellent medium to do this is through animation. An even better way to encourage stories in this beautiful medium is to reward creators for their hard work and consequently, promote them to a wider audience. That’s exactly what the Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) award scheme is about to do and it wins them a special place in our hearts.  Continue reading “GUBA Awards 2017: Another Step for Ghanaian Animation”

8th Classics In The Park: An Afromation Experience

Classics In The Park is an informal approach to the cinema that most people don’t get to experience. Forget the air-conditioned and sound-proof theatre halls. Instead, embrace a more relaxed, picnic-like setting, ripe with funky African sounds and most importantly, classic African films. This a sweet escape into the realm of classic films that still resonate pure artistry and fluid storytelling by African cinema legends such as Kwaw Ansah, Ousmane Sembene and more. This laudable initiative is spearheaded by the good people at Africa Film Society. Continue reading “8th Classics In The Park: An Afromation Experience”

Meeting of Styles – A Graffiti Experience

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Meeting of Styles is

“an introductory graffiti art event by the Ghana Graffiti crew. The crew is set to challenge societal defects using street art as a medium to communicate with citizens of a disturbed community. Altering physical space with thought-provoking and creative content for social change and aesthetics is the function of the crew even as the members individually address various topics of a changing world. The graffiti crew hopes to be an artistic body of exclusively street artists pushing Ghana beyond corridors.” – Ian Quhachi

Ian Quhachi
Ian Quhachi

The crew consists of NMA’s Moh Awudu, Ian Quachi, satiritst Bright Ackwerh, Hamid Nortey, Deff, Appiah Alicoe Art Attack aka Kali. These are the names that readily come to mind in what is probably an endless list of members.

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While the three day gig in May didn’t magnetize the usual swarm of Accra’s artsy, electric and diversified, it attracted sufficient onlookers and faithful Jamestown folk to make it a blast.

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Work kicked off proper on Saturday and continued in the same energy into Sunday, the sun bathing the artists in glorious approval. The kids, like anxious gnomes loitering about to interact with the artists and the artists’ reciprocated love and appreciation is a most pleasant and treasured memory.

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The exuberant Deff did not disappoint with his frequent rants and showcase of vocal dancehall prowess that screamed Shatta Wale fanboy. Hamid Nortey, the resident vernacular translator was on point helping muralists with proper spellings of some significant words in Ga, Accra’s indigenous dialect.

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Bright Ackwerh

The nerdy romantic of the day was Ian Quhachi, Kali played master scribe and Moh Awudu held the fort as group leader. Jah Power was a silent ninja and Bright Ackwerh was the amusing sidekick imitating Moh’s hilarious poses whenever a camera smacked its lips.

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Jamestown’s iconic lighthouse; beaconing to unknown futures while regaled by the sea’s historic songs; a poised child’s gloved fists capturing the enclaves’ boxing heritage; and broken shackles, a somber reminder of her Ussher and James forts, spaces once complicit in the dehumanizing slave trade; hailed the historic settlement as the ultimate muse in the finished murals.

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Inspired words like teeshi (stand up/rise) and ekome feem) (unity) preached hope, community and perseverance and also acknowledged the fortitude of the people of (British) Accra.

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 The Meeting of Styles easily qualifies as a meeting of masters because of the artistry and zeal of participating artists. The event reinforces my belief that Art is the only way to create a revolution that changes mindsets to uphold their values and cultures.
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 Plans are underway by the Graffiti Crew to tour Ghana and possibly collaborate with other graffiti artists across Africa.

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Their vision is crystal clear and there’s no stopping them.

Follow Ghana Graffiti for updates on:

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter 

Squirt Creativity.

Written by Asare Kofi.

Edited by Kadi Yao Tay

Images via yoyo tinz, Asare Kofi and Ghana Graffiti.

Bright Ackwerh – Ghana’s Genius Satiric Illustrator

Bright Ackwerh - Contemporary Artist of Our Time. Photo & Words by Abdulero Photography.
Bright Ackwerh – Contemporary Artist of Our Time. Photo & Words by Abdulero Photography.

The indescribable euphoria I felt when I first learned about illustrator BRIGHT ACKWERH’s work still hovers around me. As a newcomer to his work, I deliberately shut off people’s opinions for an organic, intimate experience. My first engagement came via Kenyan based Ghanaian musician, Delasi’s Thought Journey album debut.

Delasi's Thought Journey album cover illustrated by Bright.
Delasi’s Thought Journey album cover illustrated by Bright via CulArtBlog.

The album cover was so captivating it literally sang me the album. With a voracious appetite, I tore apart Google and Facebook, sniffing out and consuming his unbelievable, unapologetic catalog. I was, many times, so overwhelmed by his brilliance I had to blink back tears to compensate.

Bright on Kennedy Agyapong and Afia Schwarzenegger's love war.
Bright on Kennedy Agyapong and Afia Schwarzenegger’s love war.

Sweet, sweet vulgarism probably best describes his work, something he acknowledges by terming his work, very graphic. There is also a noticeable tint of French slapstick in his larger than life caricatures that gently pull up the corners of your lips.

#Ghandi4ComeDown
#Ghandi4ComeDown

I have not encountered many contemporary Ghanaian artists unafraid to paint unvoiced thoughts, challenge the status quo and ignite public discourse as consistently as he does.

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Ackwerh is an audacious renegade who, aided by his well-deserved social media following, not only puts on blast, but probes Ghanaians’ (and the rest of the world’s) social and moral conscience.

Ghana @ 59
Ghana @ 59 – Bright’s interpretation of Ghana’s 59 (in)dependence anniversary via yoyo tinz

As talented as they come, Bright doubles as a graffiti muralist who has painted murals (Million Man Riot with Nii Odzenma ) at ACCRA[dot]Alt’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival and recently, the Meeting of Styles Graffiti show in Jamestown, Accra’s growing art theater.

Bright Ackwerh poses beside his mural at the Meetig of Styles Graffitti Experience
Bright Ackwerh poses beside his mural at the Meeting of Styles Graffitti Experience

Following his online antics ranging from charged rants on plagiarism to the failure of media outlets to highlight prominent up-comers, I was somewhat surprised at his real life demeanor, friendly, knowledgeable, seriously jovial and carefree.

Bright Ackwerh via Naa Oyoo Quartey
Bright Ackwerh via Naa Oyoo Quartey

Winner of the 2016 Kuenyehia Art Prize with his Tweaa Room: Confrontation piece, Bright has shared insights and the process behind his enviable repertoire at Ashesi University, the Alliance Française Institute in Accra, the Rotary Club, the Studio and the MESH Confab, continually proving he is a lighthouse of mod African expression, beaconing the African narrative through satiric storytelling.

Bright Ackwerh receiving his Kuenyehia Prize via Blaxstarlines
Bright Ackwerh receiving his Kuenyehia Prize via Blaxstarlines

A prolific visualist, Bright is fervently working on his #veryverygraphic series and if you’re as hungry for talent as I was, Bright’s welcomingly intrusive art is a feast you can’t skip.

The Son's Tear from Bright's Very Very Graphic Series
The Son’s Tear from Bright’s Very Very Graphic Series

Take a bite here and here and don’t forget to Squirt Creativity. Happy half-year.

All illustrations by Bright Ackwerh, via Naa Oyoo Quartey, yoyo tinz, Cul Art Blog, Blaxtarlines, Abdulero Photography and himself.

Also,do check out Bright’s refreshing yoyo tinz pidgin inerview here.

By: Kofi Asare

Editor: Kadi Yao Tay

Ian Quhachi’s 7 Deadly Sins

Ian Quhachi, an avid contributor to the graffiti and digital art scene in Ghana has released captivating illustrations depicting mankind’s vices popularly known as the 7 Deadly Sins. This project is in many ways, a celebratory homecoming for the artist who’s been MIA on social media the last quarter of 2015.

Tracing its beginnings to the Desert Fathers, early Christian hermits across Egypt, the sins are a simple labeling of the “worst, innate” characteristics of mankind, namely pride, envy, gluttony, lust, wrath, greed and sloth, traits everyone is familiar with.

Characteristic of his style, a smoothie of brooding hues and crisp lines, Ian represents each sin with a character surrounded by cues showing the disorientation and destruction they cause. Describing the project, Ian says, “it is a representation of double personality victimization of people and how these traits weigh down the soul”. Each piece is an analytical glimpse into our state of being. Check out the depictions along with Ian’s perspectives below.

Lust
Lust: an intense form of sexual desire for another, or a strong desire for something.
Greed
Greed: a selfish desire to have more of something. People think it is the mother of all the sins.
Gluttony
Gluttony: the act of eating or drinking too much. Anyway, eat healthy.
Pride
Pride: the quality or state of being proud.
Envy
Envy: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess same advantage. Almost like jealousy or greed huh?
Wrath
Wrath: a strong, vengeful anger. This has destroyed many beautiful relationships.
Sloth
Sloth: lazy

Overlooking its Christian origins, the concept captures the widely acknowledged traits rather well and Ian’s strokes breathe wonderful life into them. It’ll be interesting to see if he illustrates the 7 Virtues as well, a sort of reward for the introspective journey the project will send us on.

See more from Ian here.

Squirt creativity!

By Kofi Asare

Edited by: Kadi Yao Tay

Painting the Days – These are Creo’s 7 Ghanaian Goddesses

7 Goddesses in their elements
A Goddess a Day makes the world tick

I doubt sheer creative tenacity alone drove Creo Concept to create the visually stimulating depictions of Ghanaian female day names. Rather, I presume it was their passion to showcase our beautiful culture as much as it was to promote the ever expanding Ghanaba movement’s online presence.

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My curiosity was piqued after seeing a few illustrations that the company had shared. Creo’s manner of teasing was truly effective in heightening fan anticipation for subsequent illustrations and accompanying interpretations.

Adwoa
Adwoa

The Creo team’s artistry is appealing, their color compositions are fluid and their characters are nicely shaped, with easily identifiable elements characteristic of African women.

Abena
Abena

Their settings are easily identifiable and show these goddesses in their elements, doing things any girl on the continent and in the diaspora can relate to, one way or another.

Akua
Akua

The settings seamlessly blend the characters’ activities and mannerisms, easily evoking pride and nostalgia. Overall, the profound beauty of Creo’s characters is irresistibly endearing, much like ants in a candy shop.

Yaa
Yaa

While I may not agree with all the interpretations, I must say some are certainly true to the letter.

Afia
Afia

I do not  intend to delve into the meaning of the names but rather, to appreciate and share what I call, “feel-good” art. An exploration of the meanings can be saved for another post or deduced here.

Ama
Ama

I believe art demands more reverence than life does because of it’s longevity, the multiple stories it tells and the many lives it impacts. This belief pegs the Creo team as illustrators of extraordinary gifts, whose talents can be trusted to produce a circle of multi-dimensional characters, complex enough to boldly depict Ghanaian and African realism and thus make art an essential part of life.

Akosua
Akosua

I applaud Creo’s wonderful work and can’t wait to see the god (male) series.

Kofi Asare

Edited by Kadi Yao Tay