‘Not having national gallery is a sin’- Renowned painter

imagesEminent Ghanaian painter, Prof. Ablade Glover, has said the absence of a national art gallery to preserve, collect, exhibit and foster the appreciation of Ghanaian works of art is a sin.

Welcoming guests last week to the opening of a month-long exhibition of paintings by Wiz Kudorwor at the Artists Alliance Gallery at La in Accra, Prof. Glover stated that this country had no excuse for not having a national art gallery.

“We are extremely proud at Artists Alliance to host Wiz Kudorwor but it still makes me sad that there’s no national gallery to contain such beautiful stuff,” said Prof. Glover, who is a retired professor of art and a director of the Artists Alliance Gallery.

National galleries are priorities in many countries where they do not only house works by their nationals but also stock a wide collection of masterpieces from other places.

Such galleries foster the understanding of works of art at different levels through the dissemination of information and the enhancement of the aesthetic experience for her nationals as well as visitors.

African countries with active, well-run national art galleries include Zimbabwe, South Africa, Senegal and Mali.

In his welcome statement at the Kudowor exhibition, Prof. Glover said the brilliant works by Wiz on show would eventually find their way out of Ghana and future generations would have to travel out in to see them.

“Today, a Ghanaian artist, El Anatsui’s works are selling for over a million dollars each on the international market and this nation does not have a single work of his. It is a sacrilege,” an emotionally-charged Prof. Ablade said.

Sculptor and painter, Kofi Setordzi agreed with Prof. Glover’s sentiments and said he was not surprised that Nigeria had been trying hard to claim Anatsui as their own because he lives there.

“A country’s wealth is not just the natural physical products such as cocoa and oil. Her people and their talents also constitute wealth,” said Setordzi, who is a Director at Nubuke Foundation, one of the leading places that promotes art in the country.

He also considers it a shame that this country, which has been independent since 1957, does not boast a national art gallery.

“Where do our young ones and art students go to see the works of giants such as Amon Kotei, Antobam, Oku Ampofo and Bartimeus? An effective national gallery would hold their works. Our young artists have nothing to build on because they don’t know what preceded their time,” Setordzi pointed out.

A young artsist, Ethel Nartey also said that though places in Accra such as The Loom, Nubuke Foundation, Centre for National Culture, Alliance Francaise, Goethe-Institut, Artists Alliance and the Dei Centre regularly show works by contemporary Ghanaian artists, their activities cannot replace the crucial role of a national gallery.

“It is about time this nation made a serious move to get a national art gallery. After all, national galleries enhance scholarship and provide educational opportunities for visitors of all backgrounds. We need one,” she stressed.

Wiz Kudowor’s exhibition was opened by Keli Gadzekpo of Enterprise Group who congratulated the artist and Artists Alliance Gallery on making such “a culturally enriching experience available for the public.”