Spending the last weeks of the year in Ghana is an enviable idea, and not just because of the climate there. That’s exactly what Dreph from Britain said, who found the perfect place for inspiration in this African country, being in contact with his roots. Revisiting the portraiture style that has characterized his work for several decades, he painted a few interventions inspired by the inhabitants of the city of Accra. Dreph himself had the courtesy of explaining to us in detail about each of the artworks and inevitably, the English artist also brought some letters to the table.
“As we left to go home, an elder shook my hand and said to me ‘Remember home’. Those two profound words encapsulate everything this trip has been for me and what my mission has been/is going forward.”
In the words of the Quench Boss (Godfather of the area) “All who come with wicked fire, I will quench It, thats why they call me the Quench Boss. We stand for truth and clean heart”
*A few people have asked me about the paint situation out here… Acrilex is one of the few places to get decent paint in Africa. Although quality cans are relatively pricey for here (currently 22 Cedis), it was great to see a decent selection of colours.
*Portrait of Elijah, 2016, spray paint on wood panel. Tema, Accra
*Drephos, Tema, Accra
*Captan is a rising Ghanaian reggae/dancehall artist from Michigan, Nima. He records under the record label Lonzy Blade Entertainment and is a member of Shatta movement Empire. Captan performs reality and positive lyrics in a singjay style with songs like Clean Heart and Musojuma (Lets Love Ourselves in the Hausa language)
I was introduced to him and the Clean Heart Family by Obodai Bionic via local area Don Trench, and we were welcomed by them with opened arms. Nima is where my father grew up… it is where Bionic’s father grew up and it is where our great grandmother Aawo lived and died. it was an honour beyond words to paint this there and in the company of my cousin and son. A truly mind blowing experience. As we left to go home, an elder shook my hand and said to me ‘Remember home’. Those two profound words encapsulate everything this trip has been for me and what my mission has been/is going forward.
*The 5th subject from my artists series is Moh Awudu AKA Freestyle233, for me the strongest contemporary muralists in West Africa and founder of Ghana Graffiti collective.
When I last visited Ghana two decades ago, the only artwork I remember seeing in the streets were sign painting and barbershop signs. Today It’s beautiful to see a developing graffiti and street art scene here. I first came across Moh’s work via pics online of his interactive street performances at the annual Chale Wote street art festival.
Moh is from the 441 area of Nima in Accra, Ghana. Historically Nima has a negative reputation and with the negative perception of Islam globally, Moh does not shy away from addressing pertinent issues such as violence, crime, poverty, lack of education, poor sanitation and child abuse. He uses art as a platform to tell Ghanas story, with the intention of provoking discussion that will lead to solutions.
Ghana is a peaceful place with a rich history. However Moh often presents a forward facing and futuristic vision of Africa, with depictions of strong focussed females, flying taxis and multi storey solar powered buildings, utilizing Africa’s rich natural resources. He says he is not concerned solely with aesthetics but rather uses social commentary as a vehicle to educate the public about social problems. He runs free workshops to inspire kids in his local community giving them the opportunities he feels he didn’t have growing up. He is a mentor to many young people and it’s fantastic to see some kind of apprenticeship going on with a few of them.
Moh started making art in ’96 and was one of the first to start airbrushing on T-shirts and clothing in Ghana. Today he makes a living from commissions and traditional paintings. He has also developed live art performances, collaborating with other creatives at events and festivals•
2 What do you think?
Add a comment