STILL LIFE WITH GOURD VESSELS: Ato Delaquis (born 1945), acrylic on canvas. 61x51cm, 1977. Signed lower left corner. Private collection.

There is no date written on this painting.

However, Prof. Ato Delaquis- the renowned artist himself, has confirmed that he executed this painting in 1977 and signed it;  but he sold it many years later.

It shows the gourds finely balanced in their primordial splendor within a field of blues and earthy brown hues.

In addition, there are “value added” or fabricated gourds in the form of a water carrying vessel, calabash and a spoon.

The delicate portrayal of each gourd’s shadow is further solid evidence of the technical virtuosity of the artist even at the early stage of his career almost forty years ago.

The stark minimalism of the painting contrasts with the rich symbolism attached to the gourd and calabash by numerous cultures in Africa and beyond dating back to the Old Testament.

As longtime residents of the port and industrial city of Tema, the painting has further resonance with us.

Gourd on pedestal within roundabout at beginning of Rotary Avenue, Community 1, Tema, 2017. No comment on the landscaping.


Because the original name of the town is “TOR MAN”. The literal meaning being “Gourd Town/Nation”.

The name Tor Man was later corrupted to Tema.

In the annual ceremony of welcoming the lagoon in the rainy season, the ancient lagoon song runs:

“May our fruitful women be like gourds”,

perhaps an affirmation that the origin of the name Tema is derived from the gourd once cultivated by their ancestors.

For us who live and work in Tema, the gourd is an archetype- a Jungian symbol.

For us, the painting is sublime

Nii B. Andrews


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