Shining a light on the energy: Derrick Ofosu Boateng and his love of Ghana

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I want to use my work to put art on the educational map”

“Accra is a welcoming place,” explains Derrick Ofosu Boateng . “The streets are busy, but the mood is peaceful. People are kind and good spirited. There’s a sense of joy, an upbeat energy that seems to be part of our culture. I was born in Accra, and I love to call it my home.”

The love Boateng has for his Ghanian home can be felt throughout his artwork. In his new exhibition for the Homecoming Gallery, Accra’s capital city his focus. Boateng presents the everyday through the loving eyes of a local: people, joy and laughter burst through in his  bold palette. “Through my work, I want to show my appreciation for Ghana. My photography is what Accra is to me, to its inhabitants:a colourful, vibrant and kind place. I’m inspired by the street markets, the colours that are everywhere, and the people and their energy.y photography celebrates Accra’s beauty,” he says.

© Derrick Ofosu Boateng.

Boateng’s photographic career began while he was studying business administration. Employing an Iphone gifted by his father, he amassed an online following, and his bright scenes capture his everyday surroundings. Since then, Boateng has garnered praise from Google, and shot the cover art for the American Rapper Common’s latest album, A Beautiful Revolution.

The work School & Art — a collaborative piece between Boateng and 10-year-old Accra student Ayitey — sits at the exhibition’s centre Collaborating With the children of Accra is important to Boateng, as he works within schools to promote art and creativity. “Art is not a typical career choice in Ghana,” Boateng explains. “Academic results are the main focus for parents and teachers, and although a career in the arts is not for everyone, I’ve found it to be a great outlet to express oneself, convey a message, influence and inspire. I want to employ my work to put art on the educational map. I want to share a feeling of opportunity, and through my workshops, I hope to be able to share my excitement and inspire kids here in Ghana.”

© Derrick Ofosu Boateng.

“My work is about the positivity, pride and joy of Ghana,” he continues. News outlets often show Africa in negative ways, but they neglect to shine a light on the energy, power and immense creativity that is embedded in our culture. The colours I use symbolise something intrinsic, something African. It’s everywhere.”

The featured exhibition can be viewed here.

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.