After 30 years of teaching at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology and four other universities in the UK and US, Professor Ablade Glover makes time to impart on the next generation.This was at an intimate session at Paloma Hotel- Spintex, organized by Dreamoval DOTTS.
The distinguished and renowned international artist was born in 1934 in Ghana, and has seen it all in the field of painting with the Ghanaian touch. One could profoundly identify the sounds, smells, touch, space, sights and tastes merging in the polychromasia of his talent.
I’ve grown interest in his journey during this length of time ever since I gleaned into this world called ‘painting’. His social commentary sometimes spills out of the frames of the canvas into actual statements, like this one time when he called for an overhaul of Ghana’s educational system, because: “The system dwells on theory more than practicals”.
Though nothing potent has been done by the governing systems to steer the wheel in the right direction, I believe there’s hope in the consistent strides through creative endeavour as we connect with artists with a message for the young, old and non-sterile like him- thanks to DOTTS.
Since Prof. Ablade Glover put up the Artist Alliance space at the Labadi beach in 1993, it has been functional in exhibitions of cream of the crop artists as well as young talented folk. Aside preserving masterpieces, the space serves as a home for exhibitions of art from Ghana after Prof. Glover and a few other concerned veterans, expressing his grievances to the government for the need of galleries and museums: “Ghana has no art gallery after 55 years of independence. Ghanaians have always accused the west of stealing their art culture and keeping them in foreign galleries but the country is doing nothing to preserve its own art.”
He went on to mention that; “We are a nation without an art gallery. I don’t know where we are heading. If we want to transfer experience and art culture to unborn generations, it must be through an art gallery.”
The local news published a talk he gave in 2012 to a group of aspiring artists about the plights of the art scene in Ghana: “The absence of a national art gallery makes it difficult for aspiring artists to display their work, hence hampering art development in the country.”
The established artist as well shared a brief chapter about his youthful days, commenting on the ills of not ‘putting art in the light’: “In my youthful days I was forced to display my art work at UTC[a clustered market space in Makola, Accra] amidst sugar and milk and that was even because the owner of the shop saw that I had potential. If you are an artist and don’t have any place to show your work and no one to see it then you are working in the dark. Nobody knows what you are doing. Art must be seen!”
In a recent talk and live painting session with DOTTS– DreamOval Thoughts Transfer Series, the artist mentioned that; “the greatest experience I get is when I paint a picture, and I feel it is good, I like it. It is a better feeling than how much I can sell the picture.” Bright Ackwerh; a promising illustrator was at the event and commented that; “I have never seen Ablade Glover work in person so I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to see someone I’ve heard so much about.”
A young lady who was at the DOTTS event to see what the professor “had in mind” when painting, dropped these lustrous poetic lines in the end: “as he blocked out all the white with colour, i was reminded of the need to live a full life. Seeing him define the lines with darker shades makes me know that challenges are a part of defining a glorious end. It took the black to bring out the form in an almost flat painting. and that’s what life is simply about.”
The artist has his original works displayed in private and public collections including the Imperial Palace of Japan, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and has bagged several national and international awards including the National Honour, Member of the Order of the Volta, Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London and Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (FGA). He is no less an influential voice on the West African art scene with global respect.