Never has the expression, “every important journey begins with the first step”, carried so much meaning as we observe the contributions of Florence Benson to the art community of Ghana, Nigeria and indeed the sub-region of West Africa in the exhibition entitled ‘sliced from history’.
The exhibition opens at the Nubuke Foundation, 7 Adamafio Close, East Legon, Accra on Saturday, September 15 and runs till November 10, 2012
What began as a whim for Florence Benson when she started acquiring works of art about 40 years ago has culminated in a body of works comparable to a national collection.
Chronicling the trajectory of the history of contemporary art in Ghana, the works of art include those of pioneer contemporary Ghanaian artists- A. O. Bartimeus, Amon Kotei, Ablade Glover, Ato Delaquis, Philip Amonoo, E. O. Dartey- George Hughes, Robert Aryeetey and many more.
The passion for collection was however not restricted by geographical boundaries as the collection includes Nigerian contemporary works and antiques.
Nigerian artists include Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ini Brown, David Dale, Kolade Oshinowo and Abiodun Olaku as well as the exquisitely sculpted Ife and Benin-city bronzes giving visitors insights to arts of the Yoruba people of Nigeria.
Any visitor to the art gallery at the Arts Centre in Accra is left with a feeling of a sense of stagnation and an air of neglect about the national collection. As a collector she has assumed a role of a cultural custodian as she has contributed immensely to the preservation of the arts and heritage of Ghana for posterity.
The growth of the art industry hinges on a number of players and by supporting artistic production, the rest of entire industry begins to flourish. They include the artists, gallerists, museums, finance industry, writers and critics, historians and academics.
This private collection now in the public domain gives the public an appreciation for the high quality of artistic production in Ghana and indeed West Africa. This chronicle is taken from our shared history and it deserves to be told.
The Nubuke Foundation is a non-governmental institution founded in 2006 to promote Ghanaian culture and heritage.