The ‘Godfather of Hiplife’ Reggie Rockstone manages a casual space where hiplife music bounces off the picturesque terraces, and fine wines and rap lines are shared by artists and enthusiasts alike. The enticing lighting, stage and easy-come dress code invites thousands of creatives year-round for free expression. For the past few years, Republic Bar has been the go-to place for their Wednesday live band sessions especially. Aside from kukurantumi cocktails and yam chips, the live painting and karaoke here brings together expressionists of all backgrounds. Republic Bar also has a mobile drink bar which is used to support artist shows elsewhere in Accra. The Shop, Tea Baa, Badu Lounge, Bermuda and Kona are also some of the best indoor and open-air spots in town for beers and creative buzz.
Currently, there are a handful of amazing arts organizations of all shapes, hues and sizes contributing to sparking the collective imagination in Accra. National Theatre, Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institut, Accra Theatre’s Terra Alta, Brazil House, ANO and University of Ghana’s Efua Sutherland Drama Studio are spots where cutting edge inventiveness takes place.
The term ‘talk party’ is how Accra[dot]Alt or Ehalakasa describe their open-expressionist platform for discussing social, political and cultural subjects. Every member of the audience has a voice and can hold an active and influential part of the discourse. Researchers, community members, activists and artists outline progressive thoughts and discuss together at these open talk sessions.
There are a number of popular contemporary art galleries in Accra that represent emerging and newly established artists who are regular exhibitors at major international art fairs. A good selection of Ghana’s foremost artists and curators show work, organize talks and hang out for artistic interactions at Nubuke, Nanoff Gallery, ANO, Artists Alliance, Kuenyehia, Gallery 1957 and The Loom.
Several artists in Accra turn their homes and common public spaces into studios and canvasses. Open studios have been known take the form of stretching out a carpet-like patchwork of discarded plastic on a neighbor’s wall, as in the case of installation artist, performer and painter Serge Attukwei. Nana Anoff welds large-scale repurposed car, bike and home appliance parts together at his home studio in Dzorwulu. As for concept stores, Elle Lokko is ahead of the pack with art, design, music and style abstractions.
Graffiti love is what Nima Muhinmanchi Art (NMA)’s Nicholas Wayo and Musah Swallah are about. Nima Muhinmanchi Art means “the importance of art in Nima,” and yes, art plays an important role in shaping the organic fabric of Nima.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s faculties of fine arts, sculpture and curatorial studies based in Kumasi produce some of the best artists Ghana has seen over the years. The institution holds several exhibitions throughout the year, including a special annual event which features over 100 artists at the Ghana Museum of Science and Technology in Accra. The music, drumming, theatre and performance studios of University of Ghana, Legon, also enable innovative contemporary works to take place.
Classics in the Park and James Town Cafe organize open air screenings for learning and downloading ideas in interactive forms with film makers, scriptwriters, directors and actors. The use of outdoor spaces for communal gatherings to explore art as an instrument for social change, community transformation and education, has long been the case in Ghana, and only gets more enlivening with each passing year.