The Dei Centre, or: thank god there is a vibrant contemporary art scene in Ghana and it is beautifulWednesday, August 25th, 2010
At the recommendation of Steve Feld (an anthropologist in Ghana who is a friend of my mother’s friend, and who also turned out to be my professor Ruti Talmor’s professor back at NYU…small world), I got in touch with the people who run the Foundation for Contemporary Art (FCA), Ato and Adwoa. They gave me some great advice and a number of people to contact and places to visit.
Thanks to Ato and Adjoa, I visited the Dei Centre — it supports NYU students doing art in Ghana and is basically an amazing collection of contemporary, mostly African art. The work at the Dei Centre is more politically charged and cutting-edge than at the Artists Alliance, which tends to be more traditional (market scenes, ladies, etc.). There was more multimedia work at the Dei – canvases made of beads, collage works, layered sculpture-paintings, a wall of adrinka symbols made by the old Italian ambassador to Ghana.
A number of artists overlap with the Artists’ Alliance, including Larry, Wiz, and George Hughes. But there were also more younger artists and a greater range at the Dei Centre. I was thrilled to see challenging, political artwork in Ghana, and a space for younger (though still successful) artists alongside more established ones. Plus, the staff there could not be nicer. Michael, Michael, and Jennifer, three university grads fulfilling their year of service, were happy to show me around the center and tell me about their work.