Nurturing Talent and Celebrating Art: Reshaping the Ghanaian Art Scene and Promoting West African Talent on the Global Stage

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Gallery 1957, founded by Marwan Zakhem, has played a crucial role in establishing the careers of several Ghanaian artists and creating a vibrant art scene in Ghana.
Zakhem's support extends to emerging art collectives, such as Artemartis, and includes initiatives like the Yaa Asantewaa Art Prize and the coveted artist residency program.
Gallery 1957 participates in international art fairs and seeks partnerships with international institutions to further strengthen Ghana's presence in the global art community.
The gallery is committed to fostering art education and community outreach in Ghana, supporting art-related entrepreneurship, and encouraging curatorial talent.
Gallery 1957's impact on the Ghanaian art scene has been significant, demonstrating the potential for West African artists to achieve international acclaim and promoting the rich artistic heritage of the region.

 

Lebanese-born British gallerist, art collector, and curator Marwan Zakhem never intended to become an influential figure in the world of art.

Initially a civil engineer, Zakhem found himself captivated by the works of local artists during his travels across Africa.

As his interest in West African art grew, he felt compelled to support and promote the talented individuals he encountered.

This passion led to the founding of Gallery 1957 on March 6, 2016, with the gallery’s name referencing the year Ghana gained independence.

Pioneering a New Era of Ghanaian Art

Among the artists who captured Zakhem’s attention was Serge Attukwei Clottey, best known for his “Afrogallonism” installations made from stitched-together pieces of yellow cans.

Clottey’s show “My Mother’s Wardrobe” became the inaugural exhibition at Gallery 1957. 

Zakhem’s dedication to Ghana’s cultural ecosystem and the growing global interest in Ghanaian art has led to the launch of several new galleries and artist-led spaces, attracting international collectors and creating a vibrant art scene.

Showcasing Ghanaian Talent: Artemartis and Beyond

Zakhem’s support extends to emerging art collectives, such as Artemartis. Comprised of nine Ghanaian artists, the collective held its first exhibition together in Ghana at Gallery 1957.

By providing a platform for local talent, Zakhem has played a crucial role in establishing the careers of several artists, such as Gideon Appah, who went on to exhibit internationally and gain representation with prestigious galleries like Pace.

Expanding Horizons: Gallery 1957’s Impact on the Global Stage

As the gallery gained prominence, it began participating in international art fairs such as Art X Lagos, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Art Paris, Investec Cape Town Art Fair, and Art Dubai.

The exposure of Ghanaian artists to an international audience has been instrumental in the growth of their careers and the recognition of Ghana’s thriving art scene.

More Than Just a Gallery: Initiatives and Residency Programs

Beyond its commercial endeavors, Gallery 1957 has initiated various programs to nurture and develop Ghana’s art scene.

One such initiative is the Yaa Asantewaa Art Prize, which supports female artists from Ghana and its diaspora.

Another crucial aspect of Gallery 1957’s offerings is its coveted artist residency program.

This program enables artists to focus solely on creating art for up to a year, with support for travel, accommodation, and materials provided by the gallery.

A Look at the Latest Exhibition: Tiffanie Delune’s “There’s Gold on The Palms of My Hands”

French artist Tiffanie Delune’s latest exhibition at Gallery 1957, entitled “There’s Gold on The Palms of My Hands,” showcases her deeper exploration into abstraction, spirituality, and identity.

Following a three-month residency in Accra, Delune’s vibrant works draw inspiration from her mixed-race background and the colors and energy of the city.

The exhibition demonstrates the gallery’s commitment to presenting diverse and engaging artistic perspectives.

Marwan Zakhem and Gallery 1957 have successfully cultivated a flourishing art scene in Ghana, proving that local artists can achieve international recognition and success without losing their identity or leaving their homeland.

A Bright Future for Ghanaian Art

Marwan Zakhem and Gallery 1957 have successfully cultivated a flourishing art scene in Ghana, proving that local artists can achieve international recognition and success without losing their identity or leaving their homeland.

As the gallery continues to grow and expand its reach, it remains dedicated to supporting the creative endeavors of Ghanaian and West African artists.

Fostering Art Education and Community Outreach

Gallery 1957 is committed to fostering art education and community outreach in Ghana. Through workshops, talks, and other educational programs, the gallery aims to promote understanding and appreciation of art among the local population.

These efforts encourage the next generation of artists and art enthusiasts, ensuring a bright future for Ghana’s art scene.

Collaboration with International Institutions

To further strengthen Ghana’s presence in the global art community, Gallery 1957 actively seeks partnerships with international institutions, museums, and galleries.

These collaborations not only expose Ghanaian artists to a broader audience but also foster a cross-cultural exchange of ideas, techniques, and artistic visions.

Supporting Art-Related Entrepreneurship

As part of its mission to create a sustainable art ecosystem, Gallery 1957 supports art-related entrepreneurship in Ghana.

By offering resources and guidance to emerging businesses in the creative industries, the gallery aids in the development of a thriving cultural economy that generates opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs alike.

Encouraging Curatorial Talent

Gallery 1957 recognizes the importance of curatorial talent in shaping the art scene and nurturing the careers of artists.

By offering training and mentorship programs, the gallery aims to develop a new generation of curators who will bring fresh perspectives and expertise to the Ghanaian and global art worlds.

The Legacy of Gallery 1957 and Marwan Zakhem

The impact of Marwan Zakhem and Gallery 1957 on the Ghanaian art scene is undeniable. 

Their tireless efforts have not only changed the landscape of art in Ghana but also demonstrated the potential for West African artists to achieve international acclaim.

As Gallery 1957 continues its mission to promote and celebrate the rich artistic heritage of the region, it remains an inspiring example of the transformative power of art and the importance of supporting local talent.

Craig Miller

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