The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has held the second edition of the Sound Out art exhibition in Accra to provide a platform for local artists to showcase their talents and works.
Besides providing a platform for the artists to market their products locally, GEPA wants to use this platform to boost the production capacity of the arts industry to enable players export to other markets, especially, with the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Speaking at the event, CEO of GEPA, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, said she hopes the art exhibition will transform into an art festival which will attract artists from all over the world.
“We are confident that over time, Sound Out will transform into the one premium art festival in Ghana all art enthusiasts can all look forward to year after year,” she said.
She, however, bemoaned the low patronage of art works in the country as many consider it luxury products which should only be patronised by the rich.
“It hasn’t been a bed of roses getting this far – especially when people consider Art as a luxury item instead of an intrinsic part of us, our way of life. The best of our export items that have made it to shelves of big brands, have been the ones that are not just well packaged, but aesthetically good looking – thanks to the creative side of us.
Yet, there is low patronage by Ghanaians in the consumption of Ghanaian art. The evidence shows that the volume of consumption of Ghana’s art by tourists, far outstrips Ghanaian patronage. We like it, we admire it, we speak proudly about it to others, but the final purchase to complete the equation is not with the same enthusiasm,” she said.
Deputy Trade Minister, Herbert Krapa, commended GEPA for the initiative, saying, the Sound Out art exhibition will, not only improve Ghanaian patronage, but it will increase awareness and sharing of market information, as well as added benefits of increased revenue for government.
He remained positive that the Sound Out art exhibition platform will help re-orient the mindset of Ghanaians about arts, as it gives prominence and exposure to both artists and consumers.
“Our arts have a high attraction, nevertheless, statistics in recent times show that the volume of consumption of these artifacts by other tourists, far outstrip that of Ghanaian indigenes. In my view, platforms such as the Sound Out Premium Art Exhibition, are meant to encourage the average Ghanaian to appreciate and patronize Ghanaian artefacts.
Promoting the arts and associated industries, also generates more revenue for our economy. Indeed, it is by appreciating our very own that we can promote our own,” he said.
Executive secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, who officially opened the exhibition also commended GEPA for its thoughtful leadership by introducing such a platform to help the arts industry grow.
He called for much attention to be paid to developing the sector so that it can take advantage of the continental duty-free, quota-free market that is now in force.
“Let me commend the Ghana Export Promotion Authority for working on your mandate to support Ghana’s Industrial Art & Craft Sector. My commendation stems from your obvious commitment to provide such a huge platform to Art & Craft in Ghana.
It is time we paid much more attention to using platforms such as these to nurture the Art industry and strengthen businesses if we are to have a solid footing in the African Continental Free Trade Area. A special thanks to our Friends in the Arts who have kept faith and continue to make Ghana’s position as a vibrant bright coloured spot on the continent.
I also want to believe that this platform marks the beginning of a consistent feature that Art Enthusiasts all over the Continent can look forward to. In my estimation, it is one undisputable means of putting our best foot forward and keeping that foot in the doorway to pave way onto the continent,” he said.
He assured the industry that, as a lover of arts, President Nana Akufo-Addo is committed to supporting GEPA and the arts industry to make the Sound Out vision and initiative bigger and better, as it is key to creating jobs and boosting revenue for the country.