[Our Artists Speak Up.]


“It can be really discouraging to work in Ghana—there is no support from the government for the arts.

Most people don’t understand the needs of performers and what it takes for artists to create and sustain their work.

I came back starry-eyed from working in the U.S., where I was spoiled with beautiful studios and theaters, and was hit in the face with the fact that in Ghana there are no rehearsal spaces—at all.

Even the performance venues we have are difficult to access if you are not part of the National Theatre or don’t have the right contacts, and even when you do, it is expensive.”


A site-specific performance by Elisabeth Efua Sutherland at Terra Alta, the performance hub she launched in 2017. Courtesy of Elisabeth Efua Sutherland.


“I created the space as a matter of urgency.

It is a safe artistic environment and creative community that will contribute to the vibrant art scene in Ghana, in Africa, and across the globe through local and international exchange.

There are a few residencies in Ghana, but most of them are commercial.

PIAR is an alternative space that does not require or demand products from artists in residence, but rather encourages critical investigation of processes and experimentations.

…….an alternative weapon to change society……to touch on sensitive topics that are forbidden by doctrines, taboos, and constitutions.

Art is a medium to decolonize and refine ourselves.”

VA-BENE FIATSI aka crazinisT artisT.

Elisabeth Efua Sutherland, Akԑ yaaa heko, 2017. Courtesy Gallery 1957. Photography: Sena Asante


“I was able to argue that these old existing infrastructures should be saved.

Sometimes if one leaves them in the hands of the state they might not end up in good condition.

But if we acquire them through private means then we can work on them, so they become public institutions again.

……For me, the mission of these institutions is to be able to reconstitute art as a gift for those we mentor and for the community.”


Akɛ yaaa heko || One does not take it anywhere, Elisabeth Efua Sutherland and Ric Bower, 2018; pigment prints, dimensions various; featuring Alina Maria Veeser; Jacqueline Fadel; Vivian Boateng, James Turkson-Brown; Jeremiah Atcheah; Doris Mamley Djangmah; courtesy of the artists and Gallery1957, Accra.

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