By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Works by the late pioneering artist Kofi Antubam, which forms part of the MFA research work by Elizabeth Asafo-Adjei, are currently on show at the Museum of Science and Technology in Accra.
Remembered for his realistic and narrative scenes of idealized African life, which he depicted in wall paintings, sculptures and mosaics, his pieces on display equally reveal him as a masterful technician, who vividly promoted community life in Ghana.
Curated by Asafo-Adjei, the exhibition is showcasing a limited number of his iconic paintings, wooden panels / doors, sculptures and for the first-time rare stamps, photographs and video clips, which represent part of his rich inventory.
Titled “Unsettling the Dust”, the works were drawn from the collections of Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, George Padmore / Balme Libraries and public spaces like the Ghana National Children’s Library and Accra Metropolitan Assembly’s Maintenance Office (Former Accra Community Centre) among others.
Antobam’s works include wooden reliefs on the façade of the old parliament building in Accra (1950), murals on the United Nations building in Geneva (Switzerland 1950s) and a series of woodcuts titled “The Life and Customs of the African People” (1959 – 61).
He also developed various works of art and crafts including Nkrumah’s presidential mace and chair as well as various state commissioned relief mural carvings while pioneering the use of adinkra symbols in Ghanaian art.
Following Ghana’s independence in 1957, Antubam was appointed an official state artist, which was a predictable act due to his belief that artists should contribute to national pride and development by representing their country’s unique past and rich culture.
Kofi Antubam received his art education at Achimota School (Ghana) and Goldsmiths College (United Kingdom) and has exhibited his work both in Ghana and internationally. These include London (United Kingdom), Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Düsseldorf (Germany) and New York (United Sates of America).
The exhibition, which was supported by the Museum of Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, blaxTARLINES and the Goethe-Institut in Accra, ends on Friday July 30, 2021.