By Nii B. Andrews
Within Ghana, the premier locations for accessing the Contemporary Ghana Art (CGA) market (and viewing cutting edge CGA) include the Artists’ Alliance Gallery, the Loom, ARTcapital Ghana, Tiga African Art, Berj Gallery, Gallery 1957, Nubuke Foundation and the Dei Foundation.
And there are of course, the numerous private studios of the artists themselves.
CGA can and should be enjoyed and celebrated for its aesthetic, emotional and investment value….whichever floats your boat.
It is always helpful for the buyer or collector to understand the four useful categories of artist profiles when contemplating a purchase.
There are global artists, undervalued artists, high potential artists and finally artists to watch.
The first profile includes artists who have solid retail and auction values and are recognized internationally in both the museum and commercial worlds.
The best example for CGA is El Anatsui whose wooden sculpture, “Used Towel”, sold in Bonhams London in February 2017 for £176, 500.
The other three categories identify artists with tremendous growth potential in terms of market value.
The work of these artists represent excellent value with potential for huge appreciation.
This becomes apparent when the price for their work is compared with the prices and careers of their European, Asian and American peers.
At the same Bonhams London auction of February 2017; “Argungu fishing festival” by Ablade Glover sold for £9,750 and Amon Kotei’s “Reclining woman reading” sold for £10,625.
Even more exciting for the novice collector are the formidable aesthetic pieces from a fair sized cohort of young artists working on canvas with acrylic or oil; pen or charcoal on paper or canvas; sculpture in wood or groundbreaking mixed media pieces.
The CGA canon also includes the work of our innovative sign writers with barber signs, commercial signs for chop bars, vulcanizers, hair dressers etc.
These items usually pack an aesthetic punch that makes them highly collectible especially more so when they are priced competitively.
The art historian and artist, Atta Kwami has demonstrated in his seminal book, “Kumasi Realism”, that the output from these “informally” trained sign writers and that of university trained artists have had a reciprocal influence.
Improved access to the CGA market with corresponding growth will occur with the following; a better educated public about CGA; increased professionalism of art dealers and artists (!!); provision of an enabling environment by national, regional and city authorities.
According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2018, art is becoming the top luxury possession that investors are buying – not classic cars, watches, wines and jewellery.
But art – including African art, had an outstanding growth rate of 21 per cent last year with classic cars and watches falling far behind.
Now, please do not ask me about real estate – or cryptocurrency!