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.

SUNSET: Max Boadi, acrylic on canvas,101 x 126.5 cm, 2018. Signed lower right corner not dated; title and date verso. Private collection – purchased from the artist.

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.

VIRTUOSO II: George Hughes, mixed media on canvas, 173 x 119 cm, 1999. Signed and dated lower left corner. Private collection – purchased from the artist. Illustrated African Arts, Spring 2001.

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.

BEHIND THE BLUE WALL: Fatric Bewong, acrylic on canvas, 81 x 63.5 cm, 2009, signed and dated lower left corner. Private collection.

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.

RUSH HOUR: Kwadwo Ani, acrylic on canvas, 162 x 147 cm, 2001. Signed and dated lower left corner. Private collection – purchased from the artist.


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.

BLACK STAR SERIES 2010; yg ACGh; edition of 10, 91 x 61 cm. Signed and numbered. Private collection.

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.

STREAKS OF LIGHT: Ablade Glover, oil on canvas, 127 x 92 cm, 1997. Private collection, purchased from the Artists Alliance Gallery


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.

CITY GUYS HAIRCUT (Barber’s sign): Paul Agbee, paint on wooden board, 122 x 102 cm, 1997. Signed and dated lower right corner. Private collection.

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.

BOOKS OR BALL?: Cornelius Annor, acrylic on canvas, 110 x 110 cm, 2018. Signed and dated, also verso. Private collection, purchased from the artist.

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!

Blebo We – Abokobi; An Art Lover’s Barn just outside Accra, Ghana.

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