In January this year the National Museum showcased a collection of paintings dated 1940-1990 to celebrate the art of Ghanaian vintage painting while displaying the captivating artistic genius which are undoubtedly important aspects of artistic production and cultural heritage in Ghana.
It is not emphasized enough that there used to be this faux opinion of some early European writers about African art being fetishistic, primordial or primitive, etc. These have come about as a result of lack of understanding of the endemic ways which are rather rooted in interrelated indigenous ways of life of Ghanaians and Africans at large.
In the exhibition, the National Museum portrayed Ghanaian Contemporary Artists as vast and varied in their artistic media, techniques, methods and thematic expressions. Painting as a visual art form whether formally or informally practiced, transcends culture and creeds.
The exhibition showcased some of the pioneering and prominent Ghanaian painters whose works were lined up in the National Museum’s collection. These great artists include: Kofi Antubam, E. V. Asihene, Amon Kotei, A. O. Bartimeus, J. C. Okyere, E. Owusu Dartey, E. Addo Osafo, F.A. Gyampo, Philip Amonoo, J. D. Okae, K. Wiafe Debrah, Kobina Bucknor, E. L. Asa Anakwa, Ablade Glover, Ato Delaquis and Grace Salomey Kwami.
There’s the odd gap separating generations of artists, and painting is no exception. Knowledge reflection and heritage sustenance are major reasons this collection was put on display. There’s the need for patronage, inspiration, creativity and love for the art. It’s necessary to rekindle the artistic spirit in the Ghanaian public and re-ignite the discussion on African art that brightened 1940-1990.
The exhibition came with a catalogue and intends to promote the documentation of aspects of Ghanaian heritage through painting. As part of extra-curricular activities it is advised that teachers visit the National Museum with pupils and nurture them about the importance of visual arts education.
The Exhibition Selection Committee is outstanding for noticing this group of veteran artists who tend to feed the soul and mind with diverse forms of quality presentations of colours merged on canvases telling stories, forming opinions about reality and abstract aspects, driving socio-political details, letting loose their feelings on rectangular plains as such. It is worthwhile to celebrate these legends now because of the pathways they’ve paved by putting some colour over time!