By Nii B. Andrews.

Ghana will debut with its own pavilion at the famous Venice Biennale which opens tomorrow, May 11 and will end on Nov 24.

The only other debut nation from Africa is Madagascar.

David Adjaye designed the Ghana pavilion reportedly using soil imported from Ghana. 

Six artists will have their work showcased.

Ghana’s 1st lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, flanked by David Adjaye and Nana Ofori-Atta Ayim at the opening of the Ghana pavilion Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian.

They include El Anatsui, Ibrahim Mahama, John Akomfrah and Lynette Boakye- Yiadom. 

Felicia Aban and Selassie Awusi Sosu are the other artists.

The pavilion is curated by Nana Ofori-Atta Ayim.

The exhibition is titled “Ghana Freedom”, after ET Mensah’s song composed as the country was established in 1957.

Many Ghanaian collectors have noted that most of the featured artists were already famous on the international scene largely on their own merit. 

LITTLE TOWNSHIP PRIZE: Max Boadi, acrylic on canvas, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

However, there is currently a sizeable crop of energetic, young and not so young struggling home based talents who need the grand international exposure provided by the Biennale. 

One astute collector surmised that the argument was old as the hills, and possibly the intent is to let the young artists ride on the coat tails of their famous compatriots to international renown.

THE POT SELLER: Marigold Akufo-Addo, mixed media, 60 x 80 cm, 2019; signed and dated. Courtesy of the artist.

Only eight African countries—Egypt, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe—will have national pavilions at the 2019 Venice Biennale, down by one from 2017. 

So far, only RSA and Egypt have been able to sustain a constant presence at the Biennale.

It will be inteesting to watch how Ghana fares over the next several events in Venice.

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