The recent use of digital technology by Barbering / Hair Dressing Salons in Ghana for advertising purposes has without doubt imparted on the visual landscape of the country as more trendy salons spring out on a regular basis.
Indeed, the result of an artistic and visual investigation into these signs by Dr. Joseph Oduro-Frimpong, a lecturer at the Department of Arts and Sciences, Ashesi University (Berekuso) is on display at the Alliance Française in Accra.
The over dramatized signs, which comprise text in both English and local languages, appear to deal with a variety of issues relating to Ghana and Africa through discursive, provocative and eye-catching representations.
These include “Dumsor Spoil My Fridge Klean Kuts”, “Say No to Brazilian Hair Grooming Palace”, Suro Nipa”, “The Young Shall Grow Beauty Klink”, “Dzi Wu Fie Asem”, “Eye Asem Ooo”, “Married But Available (MBA) Unisex Salon” and “Paddle your Own Canoe”.
A striking feature of these signs is the conspicuous use of light skinned models. In a country with about ninety-nine percent of its population as dark skinned, the use of light skinned models is quite strange and could spark some kind of research by art critics.
Nevertheless, the signs are colorful and easily attractive to the eyes. They are equally laced with comical material as well as grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. However, a combination of these factors appears to add to the fun thereby grabbing and sustaining the attention of the viewer.
Are these works “folk art”, “street art”, “naïve art”, “wayside art” or contemporary African art? Can we continue to describe these artists or “sign writers”, “untrained”, “outsiders” or “self trained”?
Dubbed “Married But Available”, the Alliance Française in Accra is sponsoring the exhibition, which ends on Wednesday September 2, 2015.