Showing posts from February, 2017

Vlog: Amateur Ghanaian artist and his fascination with everyday people

Robert Badu is an amateur artist whose gift has been nurtured by a fascination with Asante cultural symbols (such as Asante gold weights), vibrant colours and everyday people.

In the vlog below, Badu explores his early influences and explains why sheer determination meant his dyslexia was not a hindrance to him becoming an artist.

Badu is a trained teacher (not in art) although he has been known to teach the subject when the need has arisen. He currently works as a corporate security guard but has hopes of pursuing his artistic passions full time. He boasts a healthy following on social media which includes US musicians Arrested Development – one of Badu’s favourite groups whose hit song ‘Everyday People’ inspired his work.

The piece below 'The Politician' shares an uncanny resemblance to US president Donald Trump. But this is only coincidental said Badu as the painting was produced in 2012.
Badu loves to work with shapes and vibrant colours and has - in the past - been likened…

Senegal's Cheikh Anta Diop - the Pharaoh of Knowledge

I start this blog on the premise that most of us accept today that Africa is the cradle of mankind and that despite the geographical and political demarcations that separate North and Sub-Saharan Africa, all its inhabitants were originally one. But how many of us know of the Senegalese academician, scientist, philosopher and politician who popularised these concepts in the early 1950s and was widely criticised for doing so?

His name was Séex (Cheikh) Anta Diop and his research, publications and discussions made him an important figure in elevating Africans, our histories, cultures and identities on the continent and across the Diaspora.
Thanks to Birkbeck University’s free airing of the Ouseman Mbaye film ‘Kemtiyu’ in London on 3 February 2017, I got to learn more about Dr Diop and understand why his arguments were so fiercely criticised by the academic elite. The film (the name of which is fittingly derived from the word Kemet – meaning land of the black people) chronicles Diop – a ch…

Showing some love with Ghanaian card company Yobbings

When you are struggling to find the words to say something heartfelt, sometimes there’s no better way than through a card. But what do you do when there is no card that aptly expresses that ‘you love the shit’ out of your other half? I guess you go out and make one.

That is what founder Ama Asante Diaka aka Poetra Asantewa did in 2015 when she launched Ghana-based greeting cards and paper goods company Yobbings. Yobbings is a pidgin word which means to 'woo or ron' - sweet-talk or exaggerate to please someone. Keeping it real
For me, the range pushes conversations that we’ve all had privately with loved ones or friends into a public setting, and tests our limits on ‘acceptable’ toilet humour and taboo topics. Unlike most conventional card companies, Yobbings says the unsayable (not the unthinkable); taps into youth culture and speaks to them in languages they recognise.  Youth culture
I am not just talking about the fact that some of the cards are written in Twi or Pidgin, but th…

London fundraiser boosts platform for autism awareness

Autism – the mental condition that affects the way people communicate and form relationships – does not discriminate. I realised this all too keenly after being invited to a fundraising evening by the founder of London-based autism charity A2ndvoice.
The event, organised by Simply Mayfair on 25 January 2017 at Tom's Kitchen in Chelsea, brought together people from all walks of life that have been touched in some way by the condition. A2ndvoice founder Venessa Bobb launched her charity in May 2012 after her middle child – Nathaniel – was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism.

As with many parents before her, Bobb struggled to find adequate information on the condition or support. She resorted to forming A2ndvoice as a way of helping other carers bridge the gap in meeting these needs and is now chair of the National Autistic Society's Lambeth Autism Group. Her event was an eye-opener for me because it highlighted just how much more understandin…