by Nate Nido
Traveling throughout Ghana has opened my eyes to the many beautiful stores and their wide array of items for sale. Specifically, my eyes are drawn to the art. I am approached by many vendors selling works of art on a daily basis and I noticed that many of the artworks, despite the different vendors, share striking similarities. It was as if they were mass produced and bought by the vendors to sell. This sentiment held true for the carvings, cloths, paintings, and even jewelry. Yet, many of the vendors claim that their items for sale were of their own labor. It was just hard for me to believe that a single person had the ability and capacity to produce so much product (in addition to the similarities in product between competitors). However, I did respect their hustle and determination.
When I did see artists producing their own work, I was in awe. I was often mesmerized by the handiwork of a seamstresses and their coworkers. Their hands effortlessly guided the fabric into form. I was also mesmerized by painters at work: they quickly and skillfully turned an idea in their head into a physical image in front of them. However, unlike the other artists I know, Ghanaian artists seem to put more weight into their work. To many of them, painting is not just a hobby or activity to do in their free time, it is their livelihood. Thanks to them, I have learned a bit about painting, and they have also inspired ideas for some projects in the future. He doesn’t know it, but I owe much of the artistic influence to Clement Mintah. He is a wonderful person 🙂