By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
The issue of sexual abuse recently took centre stage in Accra with an exhibition of artworks by painter / cartoonist Dela Anyah that vividly portrayed the horrors and challenges that bedevil victims.
Works by Anyah, which were showcased at the Antique Lemonade Gallery in Accra, dilated on examples of sexual assaults by “predators”, who appear unfazed due to light punishments as well as the lack of boldness to report such cases to the police.
Employing jute sacs on which he paints gloomy caricatures, Anyah incorporates plastic sheets, papers and cuttings from past editions of newspapers that have reported incidents of abuse, which relate to sexual manipulation, harassment and rape.
His human figures are characterized by exaggerated eyes with the word “Abuse “ boldly written on each piece as he transmits messages on sexual abuse alongside a dramatic combination of earth colours and shades of shades of reds, yellows and blues.
Using acrylics and other pigments, Anyah includes a suite of stylized and lightly saturated colour abstractions that suggest pain, anguish and despair. Indeed, the colours are kept in check by patches of white, which inundate backgrounds or tend to form part of his figures.
The Ghanaian Labour Act defines sexual harassment “as any unwelcome, offensive or importunate sexual advances or request made by an employer or superior officer or a co-worker, whether the worker is a man or woman”.
Undeniably there have been reports of such incidents in schools, offices, factories etc with suspects merely transferred or made to face some sort of disciplinary action instead of inviting the police for investigations and possible prosecution.
The exhibition, which is a timely reminder of the canker, ended on Saturday December 29, 2018.
Photos: Jesse Ababio – Snapshot Gh Studios