The sprawling city of Accra is home to 1.7 million people. Street markets are bustling, and cabs and buses ride bumper-to-bumper through the roundabouts. It’s a city filled with churches and rimmed by miles of undeveloped beaches. Residents describe it as an “energetic” place, one where the pace of life is on the upswing. Music festivals abound. As Western collectors display increasing interest in contemporary African art
, the first edition of Art Accra, an international art fair that will showcase 25 galleries from the continent and beyond, is set to open this December.
According to Aryeequaye, art in Accra is experiencing a renaissance, long after losing the government support it received in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, oversaw the creation of the National Museum of Ghana in 1957 and the Arts Council of Ghana in 1961 (subsumed into the Institute of Arts and Culture a year later), and the country’s top art school bears his name. “Everything collapsed after Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966,” Aryeequaye says. “He understood the importance of culture and cultural production. Now we have to create our own infrastructure because there’s no longer state support.”
ACCRA [dot] ALT is helping to reinvent that infrastructure through their art space in Brazil House, events like the Talk Party Series—a monthly salon where creatives share their work—and the Chale Wote Street Art Festival, now in its sixth year. The festival is attended by over 10,000 people each year, and features 200 creators across art, music, film, dance, and performance. “There’s a new crop of artists now, living as artists, making money off their work,” says Aryeequaye. “Through projects like Talk Party and Chale Wote, we are able to position Ghanaian artists so that they are noticed by collectors and curators.”