The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is seeking to harness the potential of the visual arts to drive receipts from Non-Traditional Exports, its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, has disclosed.
With renewed focus on contemporary Ghanaian art, particularly paintings, as well as the unbridled prospects of initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as well as the ‘Beyond the Return’, she expressed belief that the time is ideal to promote indigenous art for their cultural and commercial value.
Pointing to the numerous African artifacts which are displayed in museums and galleries across the globe as well as the interest garnered by the works of persons such as Ben Enwonwu, she debunked the view that African art is inferior to its counterparts from Europe and Asia.
Speaking to the B&FT on the sidelines of the launch of the maiden edition of Sound Out Art Exhibition, she argued that more has to be done to properly promote contemporary Ghanaian art and artists and stated that a proper pricing mechanism, which truly reflects the value of the pieces is crucial to achieving this.
“At exhibitions the world over, we continue to see the quality of works of African and in particular, Ghanaian artists. The drawback has been a lack of promotion; the narrative that goes with what we are selling and that is something that we haven’t really crafted well. It is time to review the way we project, market and sell our art, and that is the reason for this exhibition… We have to reposition ourselves as sometimes, the way we price our items gives off the wrong impression,” she said.
CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), Yofi Grant echoed the sentiments expressed by Dr. Asare, as he called for infrastructure and public support to drive indigenous art. He stated that the rich culture and numerous aesthetics from the continent, which has been adopted beyond its shores, will come to maturation when the largest free trade comes into effect.
Mr. Grant believes that Ghana is primed to be a visual arts hub on the continent, akin to Hong Kong in Asia. He predicts that in the near future, art will be seen not only for its aesthetics but as a store of value and alternate investment vehicle. “Not before long, we will begin to see our art valued as it ought it be,” he added.
The art exhibition, which was held in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority saw exhibition on canvas from seasoned Ghanaian artists such as Sami Bentil, Wiz Kudowor, Afua Asabea Asare, Nicholas Kowalski, Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, Amarkine Amarteifio, Martin Dartey, Victoria Adoe and Godwin Adjei Sowah.
Others include Betty Acquah, Kojo Danku, Gabriel Eklou, Larry Otoo, Nana Yaa Omane Peprah, Samuel Prophask Asamoah, Daniel Kukubor, Nana Kwasi Agyare, Kwesi Nyarko, Seth Clottey and Kobina Nyarko.