2015 was a very interesting and overall great year for Ghana’s emerging creative scene. Certainly one of the most amazing years for Ghanaian creatives especially with regards to international achievements. In fact, so many awesome things happened this year, I will not be able to mention everything in his article. Feel free though to share your own creative highlights with us in the comments below. Here are a number of highlights from our creative radar in no particular order.
We at MESH kicked off the year by featuring two amazing Ghanaian creatives on MESH Profiles on MESH TV. Firstly, featuring Elisabeth Efua Sutherland of Accra Theatre Workshop, an independent contemporary theatre arts group and Setor Fiadzigbey, the aerospace engineer turned illustrator and founder of BZL Illustration studio.
A major highlight of the year 2015 for MESH are our biannual MESH Confabs held in May and November each year. This event is aimed at creating a platform for MEETING, EXPLORING and SHARING among Ghanaian creatives from all sectors towards business networking and market expansion. 2015 saw the two biggest MESH Confabs yet, the latter being the largest ever. This was a particularly exciting event for us. For the first time we held a full day event and successfully had an expo running alongside the main event where innovative creative products and services were put on display. Particularly interesting was the quality and breadth of presentations and works on display. We are also glad to have been able to as always attract renowned industry leaders as keynote speakers. Read more about MESH Confab May, 2015 here and MESH Confab Nov, 2015 here
A major boost to the theatre and dance industry came in the form of the Heritage Series theatre spectacle dubbed, Wogbe Jeke [The Birth of a Nation] by Bambu centre. We found this particularly interesting because for the first time, an ambition to tell the story of Ghana all the way from the coming of the major tribes had actually taken shape in the form of a theatre production. This theatrical spectacle, which was the brainchild of Chief Moomen one of Ghana’s most prolific poets, writer and theatre artist, was the first of an ambitious project that aims to establish a thriving theatre company that not only tells the Ghanaian story but tells the African story at large.
2015 also saw a major boost in the illustration and animation front with a number of productions gaining both local and international recognition. Notably among these are:
Agorkoli [The cause of Hogbetsotso] an award winning short animated film that chronicles the story of the wicked king Agorkoli from whose tyranny the Ewes fled to settle in present day Ghana and Togo. This was the brain child of Francis Y. Brown and his Animax FYB Studios. We were especially impressed by the twist in the tale, as the film captures the back story of Agorkoli in a way that many have never heard it before.
Another animation project which we are especially proud of is the Foodies TV series. We are especially proud of this series because, the main 3d artist and animator Bertil Toby Svankiaer was discovered at MESH Confab Nov.2014, a testament to the exposure that comes with networking and sharing among creatives from different disciplines. The show employs traditional film-making and an integration of 3d animated characters in the form of a family drama series to educate its viewers, especially kids, on food, nutrition and healthy living.
One could not fail but notice the apparent invasion of social media of various forms of both digital and traditional art forms such as digital illustration, pencil art, motion graphics and animation. Some of these forms of art until very recently hardly existed in this country and even if it did at all, had not found its way to the consumption of many a Ghanaian and indeed a world audience as it did in 2015. Ray styles, El Carna, Nils Britwum, Poka arts, Setor Fiadzigbey, Bright Akwerh, Godfre Grant, Winnifred Adom and louicage are but a few of the lot who made some extensive strides with illustration and animation projects.
Indeed, one major feat in this sector was the “Tales of Nazir” online animation series which eventually made history by being the first full length Ghanaian animation movie to be premiered at the silverbird cinema in Ghana.
Just as has happened over the last three years, Chalewote street art festival continues to be the largest in Ghana and West Africa in 2015. Chalewote is organised once a year by Accra[Dot]alt, one of the biggest players in the emerging cultural and creative space in Ghana and the 2015 edition saw thousands of art lovers from all walks of life throng the streets of James Town to witness the artistic spectacle on display. Check out our photo coverage from Chalewote2015 and read more about it here.
Co-working and incubator spaces is a new trend that can be credited with the proliferation of the startup culture in Ghana nowadays and in 2015, two of the leading actors in this space, Impact Hub Accra and ISpace saw major boosts in their operations as they both moved from their founding premises into larger edifices with better facilities to boost their operations. This I believe is due to recognition of the profound impact they have had on the startup culture in Ghana manifesting in the form of more international funding, collaboration and partnerships.
As a matter of fact, all sectors of the emerging creative industry in Ghana are on the rise from photography, fashion, fine art, music and beyond and this article as mentioned earlier cannot capture everything. We would love to hear about your own take on 2015 creative year. What were your highlights?
I would like to take this moment to wish all our cherished followers, collaborators, volunteers, partners, sponsors fans and all Ghanaians a very happy new year. We really appreciate the love and support and being part of our journey towards a creative revolution. 2016 already promises to be an even better year for the creative and cultural scene from all indications. At least, we at MESH Ghana as always are even more dedicated to our goal of helping develop the creative sector. We will continue to facilitate meeting among creatives through bigger and better MESH Confab, explore and instigate MESH Lab projects for social good and share the very best of the still emerging creative scene through regular and improved content on MESH TV and through social media platforms. We also have newly designed content and events inspired by your feedback which we are excited about and looking forward to. Stay tuned for more details on our activities for 2016 by following us across social media and subscribing to our website. Cheers to another year of creative awesomeness!!!