KWABENA LARTEY BRINGS OBSCURE IMAGES TO LIFE.


The deadly use of force by some police officers on citizens in some parts of the world has reinvigorated an alarming situation about police brutality and rascism. The world has experienced this inhuman act and this continues to affect the blacks largely. The police have killed and violated the rights of people at similar rates to past years. In a bid to close the docket to this systemic racism, one of Ghana’s finest artist, Emmanuel Kwabena Lartey brings these images of brutalized souls back to life. I recently got the chance to speak with Emmanuel Kwabena Lartey, artist at Noldor Artist Residency in Ghana, to discuss his journey across this unique and creative images and how they informed his vision.

Lartey’s art is centered on obscure images, focusing on the faces of blacks. Photography by @Kwadwophotography

Akosua: What was growing up like for you?


Kwabena: You know, when we talk about life in Ashiaman, the first thing that comes to mind of most people in our country is “the-street-rascal-life”. I grew up there and lived with my four siblings and parents. At age 15, I lost my dad and I was raised single-handed by my mum. Life in the “zongo” was not an easy task at all. Any time I mention the place most people get the impression “oh, he is a stubborn person”. But because I love what I do which is art, I stayed focused and worked assiduously to change that mindset. After my Dad passed on, I had no one to lend a helping hand and I helped my mum to sell Banku with Fish. I sometimes accompany her to the market to buy foodstuffs and help us to set up. In fact, she is the reason behind my passion for art which has nurtured into something this big.


Akosua: Talking about Passion for Art, how did your entrepreneurial journey begin?

Kwabena: I started my primary school at St. John’s Academy in Ashiaman. Before senior High school, I decided not to go to school for a while and all I did was to roam in Ashiaman with the street boys. I have followed a lot of bad guys in the heart of Ashiaman but thankfully, I didn’t grow up to be like them. My mum pushed me to have my secondary education now called the Senior high school in the Volta Region at Kpando Senior High, where I studied Visual Arts.

I moved to Takoradi Technical University, 2017, with the Faculty of Painting and Decoration. In Junior High School, I used to draw a lot in social studies class and there was one teacher called Mr Kartey, who encouraged me to take painting and drawing seriously. I think the natural progression from that was to follow my passion, and that has always been art, African contemporary art, specifically. So one day he advised me to mainly focus on it and I had this strong urge to continue in the senior high school. I have always had this unique affinity for contemporary art.

This, he calls “Roar 2”


Akosua: Specifically what do you mostly focus in the art industry? Is there a particular reason for your specifications?

Kwabena: Artist are often perceived as a bit “different” from ordinary people. Sometimes those of us who paint, draw, use charcoal or create art using different mediums are mostly inspired by things that others never notice, or think of as ordinary. For those of us who are gifted with artistic talent, the world sometimes takes on a life of its own when your imagination is full of wonder and your creativity is just waiting to come out on a blank canvas. My practice focuses on the effects of violence-led social injustice and its limitation on black identity. My use of biomorphic shapes are seen metaphorically to obscure or hide the full essence of the contorted black faces depicted. There have been a lot of police brutality, killing, and violation of rights that goes around. Issues of this nature saddens my heart and makes me want to add my voice to the protest. I mean none of us would like to go through such a painful moment in the hands of officers; molesting and violating our rights as people. I just use my art to educate and tell a story through these obscure images.


Akosua: Honestly, I was taken aback when I chanced on these obscure images. Some look very scary and engaging. How does it feel like retelling this story in your own unique way?

Kwabena: I refer to it as “The Unknown”. So I focus on African black faces and dead people (those who were brutalized by the police). It is actually an inhuman act and makes us feel unsafe as people. Not too long ago, An African American was shot dead at point-blank range and many others have been taken by the people who are to be protecting us. That’s the reason for this paintings you see.

Myself at Noldor Artist Residency with the incredible Kwabena Lartey.

Akosua: You mentioned it is important to work assiduously and make a living out of what you do. How is the funding going with these images? Is it worth it?


Kwabena: I used to paint rooms and more into structural paintings. So I move from one place to the other to paint structures aside working on these obscure images. Of course, in as much as these are obscure images of brutalized people, lovers of creatives fancy seeing it. Remember that not everyone has that “eye” for art. My mum always gets furious with paintings like this because she sees no reason for these- my paintings are very scary. She sometimes walks into my room and tilts the paint and says “I am tired of seeing this and I don’t know who is buying them”.

Akosua: After Schooling, You started off as a maintenance hand at a biscuit factory before coming to Noldor Residency. Tell me how the Residency has shaped your world.

Kwabena: Before Noldor Residency, I was very depressed with naggings from my mum and I left home to clear my mind for some time. An uncle of mine introduced me to a biscuit factory. There, I worked as a maintenance artisan and a painter in the factory and doing other menial works too. I stayed focused in the factory and I was moved from my field to shop keeping at the same factory.

I used to sketch a lot in there and that was where my maintenance supervisor, Marc Yar3d saw my art and encouraged me not to stay here with my talent and skills. So that is where my transition started. Noldor Residency was founded by Joseph Awuah-Darko and I am here as one of Ghana’s emerging African Artist together with other stupendous artist. This residency is committed to nurturing African artist’ creative process, while acting as a pillar for introduction and development of an art scene.

At Noldor, there are in-house data managers and artist liaison for each artist who equip us with logistic tools and they help to build our visual language, they help to market our works, create a spot for exhibitions where people from all walks of life come to appreciate what we do. I must confess that Noldor has really had a great impact in my life and kudos to these people Joseph Awuah-Darko, the founder of Noldor Residency, Rita Mawuena Benissan, the curator who helps me with most of my research work; my mentors Obed Addo and Emmanuel Adiamah who have contributed immensely in this journey of mine.


Akosua: How is spatial painting different from canvas painting?


Kwabena: Aside Painting, I also work on spatial designs which is more of interior or structural painting. Structural painting is more of painting and designing of buildings and rooms and painting on canvas is having a material or a support on which you showcase everything you have in mind. So I do a lot of reading and research work before I start my art work. In working, I go with the guys in Ashiaman who aren’t doing anything worthwhile to help me with some of my works and I give them a cut.

Akosua: oh you have a good soul! Any wishes and how would you want this to go far?


Kwabena: I have been painting for six years and I wish my works will be found in museums and places I don’t expect. I also wish I have a lot so I can help people to develop themselves just like me and more like me.

Akosua: Any Philosophy that has kept you going?


Kwabena:I strongly believe that the destiny of a man lies in the hands of God. whatever you do, remember there are eyes watching so just put in your best effort and work at it!

Some of Kwabena’s works

An image of fresh meat with flies feeding on it- Metaphorically, the fresh meat represents the rich minerals Ghana has and the flies represents intruders.

Lartey calls this, “She sees no evil”
Founder of Noldor Artist Residency, Joseph Awuah-Darko photographed with Emmanuel Kwabena Lartey.
Lartey, Myself and his Manager
Misery in their eyes, 2021

Kwabena_Lartey

he was able to find small moments to create hyper-realistic drawings and paintings which now remain in his archives.

Curated by Rita Mawuena Benissan. Art by Kwabena Lartey 👯

Remarkable works of Lartey at Noldor Residency

“The heavy hearted

“The Walls have eyes”
“The unknown” curated by Rita Mawuena Benissan
Dissociative Identity, 2021
Lilac Barriers, 2021

Akosua Amoni & Kwabena Lartey

Ghana Personalities.

THE SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR; COLLINS KWAMI KUFOALOR HAS A STORY.

A few months ago, I was a guest at a friend’s wedding ceremony and I spotted works of him. I over heard another friend commending him of his great handiworks. Needless to say, he has ever since dazzled people with his nice crafts.

That new shift of mindset landed me in the University of YouTube.

I recently had an instagram chit chat with Collins Kwami Kufoalor, CEO of Ego style in Ghana, an Electrical Engineer, and an astute IT specialist. He reveals his passion and secret in setting up a business of his own. From an Electrical Engineer to a Serial entrepreneur and a Creative Enthusiast, CEO of Ego styles makes the Headlines in the creative industry! Here is an e-interview between Kwami and I.

Akosua: I know Collins Kwami Kufoalor is an expert in what he does best. But who is he?

Kwami: I’m Collins Kwami Kufoalor. Now preferred to be called by my middle name Kwami.
I’m a creative enthusiast, serial entrepreneur and an Electrical Engineer by profession. I’m open minded who enjoys deep rooted conversations on all subjects and love to connect with new people.

Akosua: Kwami, let’s talk about how you combine as an Electrical Engineer, a Creative Enthusiast and a serial entrepreneur. What is serial entrepreneur all about and how did you venture into it?

Kwami: Great! To begin, If you’re a person who’s on constant look out for new ideas and starting new businesses, you’re a serial entrepreneur.
My entrepreneurial journey started after my national service and while i was still back in school for a degree.

I remember i had a little over Gh1500 in savings and wanted to invest it in a venture. So i went browsing on Alibaba to find products that I could buy and sell here for a profit. I did come across some amazing products (watches) and persuaded my friend and roommate Nathaniel to join funds in importing the watches so we can sell and make some profit. He did eventually and we bought the watches.

We sold half of the watches we imported through family and friends, e-commerce platforms and on social media.
sales started declining, my friend lost interest and a sister-cousin of mine told me she once bought this same watches on an e-commerce platform in ghana for less than half the price we were selling at. I was crushed.
Thinking about the amount we spent on shipping and duty charges and now this? I was devastated.
I told myself my next venture, I’d love to go solo. Create something I could call my own and that i could make here in Ghana provided i could source the materials right here.
That new shift of mindset landed me in the University of YouTube 😂.

Bowties

I love to look good when i step out and accessories were my favorite (bowties & lapel pins). So i started learning the making of these accessories on YouTube and i kid you not within a month, i was able to make my very first lapel pin and the rest fall into place as I started advancing.

After the making of these amazing products, presentation was very key to me on how the world sees these products. So i fall back to YouTube to learn mobile phone / Camera photography, videography and editing and I’ve been exceptional at it. It’s my sanctuary.
I love the creative process; from designing, production, shooting and editing. All the beautiful creative shots you see me post are all from my IPhone.

Boutonniere

Talking about how i combine these three disciplines is quite simple. I’ll summarize them to PASSION, DEDICATION and CONSISTENCY.

Currently I’m not actively working as a professional Electrical Engineer. I’m working as an IT support specialist in a government institution where i create and edit videos and provide technical support for staff. Days when there are no videos to edit and the like,i go to YouTube to learn more things and go about my businesses as well.

Akosua: Fascinating! take us through your early school days.

Kwami: Well, I completed my basic education (B.E.C.E) at St. John’s Academy (2010) in Ashaiman, Moved on to study General Science at Chemu Senior high school in Tema (completed in 2013) and then to Accra Technical University formely Accra polytechnic for my HND and B-tech degree in Electrical/Electronic Engineering completing in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

Akosua: While in ATU, did you think of developing yourself to become a creative enthusiast and serial entrepreneur?

Kwami: Not at all Akosua. I focused on my studies. When i step out whether to class or anywhere, it’s only the engineering environment on my mind. I look out for transmission lines, substations and relating them to what has been thought in the classroom among other things. The closest idea i ever got in my Early days in the the University was how to make money. I wanted to multiply the allowances given to me by my parents because it wasn’t “enough” for my living expenses.

Akosua: So what transpired your career path?

Kwami: I’d say my cousin, Kwadzo Adika He’s also an Electrical Engineer by profession. I never once taught I’d be an Enginer because from childhood, all i wanted to ever be was a medical doctor but I couldn’t fulfill that dream and chose a different path. Kwadzo literally persuaded me that engineering wasn’t difficult, and that it’s just a build up on what has been thought us back in senior high school. And that was true when i had my first lecture in the university.

Akosua: How did you come by the name Ego Style?

Kwami: Uhm…Quite simple when you think about it. Whenever you dress well; you look good and feel good about yourself. Your ego level turns up.
It gets better when the style is right hence Ego Style.

Bowties

Akosua: I believe your brand is not only accessories. Do you have others too?

Kwami: Yes i do.
I have another subsidiary brand by name Ego.Bridal(@ego.bridal.gh) that makes bouquets, corsages, flower crowns, boutonnières and anything in between for brides and bridesmaids.

Purple floral bouquet
Ego style floral bouquet
Corsage
Corsage(s)
Flying Ties

Also, I’ve founded an e-commerce company /site called Dimedwa Afrika (@dimedwa_afrika) that is poised to give African businesses (products made in Africa and are viable for e-commerce) from small to medim and large scale businesses to trade intercontinentally and internationally.
It’s still in the process of actualization.

Akosua: Amazing! I’m really impressed with your story. Who do you draw inspiration from?

Kwami: I’m wondering how to answer this because I don’t have that one particular person i draw inspiration from.
My inspiration spans across different criteria from business leaders, young and talented creatives, nature and everyday problems.

Business wise, Vusi Thembekwayo is my source of inspiration. He’s a renowned ferocious business leader, investor and motivational speaker. When I discovered him my mindset of running a business shifted for good. You should check him out on YouTube. You’ll love him.

In the creative arts, Our very own Bob Pixel (may his soul RIP) twins don’t beg, sorce photography & focus n blur and some creative designers. Elsewhere in the world, on YouTube I learn a lot from Peter Mckinnon and Sorelle Amore (creatively insane that sometimes she takes her own photographs)

When I’m hit by life challenges and not feeling myself, i watch inspirational videos from the likes of Les Brown, Oprah & Steve Harvey to mention a few. I pray and sometimes read my Bible.

Akosua: Now, Kwami let’s get personal here If you were to change one thing about yourself, what will it be and why?

Kwami: (Sigh)…
This is actually deep for me to answer and it feels like peeling some of my personal layers down but I’ll try my best to keep it together.

This may sound awkwardly funny to anyone reading this but it is what it is. The one thing I’d change about myself would be that i am too submissive and respectful to my caregivers which i think didn’t change their perspective about me regardless my potentials and achievements. It just didn’t pay off. Not even the slightest shift of mindset except that, it only afforded a roof over my head and not to pay for utilities.
My reasons why, are withheld.

I came to realize afterall, it was a learning curve, my life’s journey learning curve in order for me to succeed hence I’m resolved.

Akosua: Any words of encouragement for my readers or the youth out there who don’t know where to start from?

Kwami: I believe to a greater extent that a lot of us youth want to start our own businesses and we admire people who have taken that leap of faith to start and are doing well.

One thing that nearly stopped me; and I believe for every successful entrepreneur and you, the person reading this right now was and/or is FEAR. The second is, it was lack of money.

I feared the “what if questions”, the failures, doubts and all. After motivating myself on personal development videos, i came to realize that FEAR will never go away. It’s part of our being. What we choose to do with that FEAR is what will move us forward to greater success or keep us stationary in our comfort zones. It’s up to us.
So i did what i had to do inspite of the FEARS. I started. I got to work. I still do have those FEARS anytime I concieve a new business idea. So you see it never goes away.

My question to anyone with this same phobia about kicking start their business ideas is that in an idealic world where there are no FEARS what will you do? I believe the answer would be: I’ll start. So why don’t you?

So if it’s lack of money. I’m here to tell you that, you don’t need that much. If you really believe you do, “odds are that you’re not an entrepreneur”. Vusi Thembikwayo would say 😂 because entrepreneurs make it work with the little they have. I started my business with a capital of Gh150.00.

“Do what you have to do in order to be where you want to be”


The bottom line will be a quote from Denzel Washington which says, “Do what you have to do in order to be where you want to be” So if you’re not even trying to make it work with the smallest of resources at your disposable what makes you think when given all the money you require to start you’ll succeed?
If it’s going to be, it’s only up to you.

Floral crown for braids maids
Floral crown for braids maids
Bride’s bouquet

Bowties
Bowties
Corsages

Such a heart-warming and inspiring story!

Ghana Personalities
Akosua & Kwami.

E-interview session with Poetessakosua’s blog
Interviews with celebs.

“Setting my own Business and seeing it come to fruition gives me Joy” Nathaniel Nii Sowah Patterson Tells his Story.

Earlier this weekend, I e-interviewed Nathaniel Nii Sowah Patterson to share his life and career journey. Be inspired!

Akosua: I can see you are really good at what you do. Why this Choice?

Nat: I’ve always known I will one day grow in the art industry, so the love for this has been there way from 5yrs if I’m right. I remember during primary days, my cousin and I (Osbyna, who is a Fashion designer now) used to do art competition at school.This went on for a long time. I was a Visual Arts student and Graphic designing was part of my electives in High School, and that’s when I realized that is the exact field I want to be in.Unfortunately I didn’t get that course at the University so I had to be learning the graphic designing on my own through YouTube tutorials etc.

What actually made me become serious with graphic designing was… one day, a very close lady of mine, Tina, wanted a design work for her business so I contacted a friend to help which he ended up not doing lol. So I was like“ah me kraa this thing I can do it if I learn it”. She liked it, and brought me some few designing deals for people and that pushed me to do more and work hard at it.

Akosua: Let’s take a Journey through your life.

Nat: Well, I’m Nathaniel Nii Sowah Patterson born in Koforidua and later moved to Accra (La, Labadi) at a very tender age. First attended GAKU preparatory school in Labadi for my basic and junior high education. Then to St. Margaret Mary SHS in Dansoman for my Senior High Education.Later, I got admission to KNUST. I completed my undergraduate (Integrated Art) in 2014. Due to no available work after University, myself and a close friend; Jacob Danquah came together to set our first business ChipTech I. T Solutions situated on the campus of Knust.

During that period, I got admission to Knust School of Business for my Masters. After graduation I decided to set my own business back in Accra and that’s when Danok Media became a reality.

Akosua: Danok Media Ghana sounds expensive to me. How did you come by this Acronym?

Nat:. So for starters, Danok is coined from the names of three different people very dear to me
Da- Daniel Patterson (the breadwinner of the family)
N – Nathaniel Nii Sowah Patterson, me)
OK- Okpoti (Stephen Okpoti Patterson thus, my dad). I’ve always had the dream of setting up my own business so once in a while I sit to think of names to use, and that idea came in mind.

Akosua: I like the fact that you actually sit to create ideas and make them feasible. Did Photography ever come in mind?

Nat: So from the start Danok Media was supposed to be only a designing firm till my Uncle, Daniel Patterson was like now photography is the deal now, why don’t I add it. I had no idea of what photography was so I had to fall back on YouTube for tutorials again 😅Now here I am!

Akosua: Interesting!

Nat: And now I feel really attached to the photography side than the graphic designing …Interesting right? I know ☺️

Akosua: On a scale of 1-0 rate Photography in Ghana.

Nat: Photography in Ghana as compared to the Western worlds is now picking up. We don’t really understand why someone can go to a photo studio for an expensively charged photo whiles the person can do that with the phone. So it’s not really that paying now, but I think that story is changing now. Now people understand the importance of a high quality picture so they will pay what is been charged.Photography in the art field is now the most expensive industry in Ghana after painting and sculpture. So it’s paying gradually.

Akosua: How is the promoting of your social media been?

Nat : it’s been well and gratifying.

my personal Instagram page @nii_Sowah_comerAnd my works too on my business page @danokmedia.ghFacebook
Business page – Danok media
Personal – Nii Sowah RustyTwitter
@danokmedia 🇬🇭

Akosua: Educating yourself can be worth it and igniting the spark in others. How do you do that with your Media Work?

Nat: I have three ways of educating myself to take better pictures from YouTube. There are numerous tutorials on everything you want to learn on YouTube.Secondly, I compare my works with the big time photographers in the industry.

Always thinking of how can I get this similar dope shots like they do. Lastly, I love doing trial and error a lot and asking my clients if they are satisfied with what I’ve done for them. I love to allow people criticize my works, it gives me an idea of what people actually want.

Akosua: What was the Patterson’s reaction when they realized that you have veered into Photography?

Nat:. In my story, everyone know I have a thing for art, so they didn’t give a negative reaction to when I went into doing photography, actually my uncle Daniel Patterson funded the business from scratch to date. I think probably because of how opened minded my family is on professions that everyone has various abilities and fields they fit in well, me choosing this field didn’t really bother them that much.

Akosua: Do you think your brand is more special than other Photographers?

Nat: I wouldn’t say my brand is that special yet. I just started, this year, some few months ago.. and it’s these big photographers you just mentioned are the ones I look up to as a standard to perfecting my works. Till I get to that world class branded business I’m not that special. Even though I started not long and I didn’t go to any special school for all those skills I think I’m doing best comparing to some few already in the field and those academically trained for this.

Akosua: Any best moments with Danok Media?

Nat: One of my best moments so far is somewhere February, we went to cover a funeral at a suburb in the Volta region. My first time there and that was my first biggest gig with enough pay. After the program we went sightseeing etc.

Akosua: When you look back at your life, what are you proud of?

Nat: Each and everyday I look at myself and couldn’t be any prouder of myself. Like I said comparing myself to others already in the scenes and my standards now, I think I’m really doing perfect. That aside, I pinch myself always to make me push in harder cos I have a certain level I’ve set before me that I need to match.Till my brand is requested all over the world esp America (my dream country) then I’ve not reach yet but still proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I can boldly say I’ve set up two business already at my age and more to come if God permits.

Akosua: Should I then conclude your price range is affordable?

Nat: For the photography side I do both studio (indoor) and location (outdoor) shoot including weddings, parties, funerals etc. With the pricing it’s 70/50ghc for studio and 170ghc for location shoot. The plan is to give the least price for the best quality photos and works in order to capture the industry and people for like a year. After, I can now use the industry standard pricing (300ghc per hour for all shoot).

Akosua: What is your favorite lens?

Nat: So far my favorite Lens is the 70-200mm lens, that Lens is like a god 😅 it gives you details even at a long distance. Mostly preferable for outdoor events that you can’t really come close to the focus so from that 200mm you can still get a perfect shot of the person in focus. And it’s perfect for Depth of field (DOF), blurs the background leaving the central focus on point.

Akosua: ☺️☺️ Interesting. I hope to pass by your studio for some awesome shots.

Nat: Sure Akosua. Always at your service 😉Some shots by Danko Media

Ghana PersonalitiesAkosua & Nathaniel

MEET THE RISING SPOKEN WORD ARTIST- Dr. ELVIS OPARE

Dr. Elvis Opare

Spoken Word and Poetry has become quite a new wave form of performance in the entertainment industry in Ghana. Popular Spoken Word artists like Poetra Asantewaa, Akotowaa, Jo Nkietah, Maame Danfoa, Nana Asaase, Rhyme Sonny to name but a few have developed their unique style of delivering their oratory art form of sharing personal opinions on social and cultural issue in the country.

I chanced on some recent videos of his performance and I was in awe at what I saw. He is not just into poetry but also into Painting, sculpturing, drawing and acting. As a medical doctor by profession one would ask how Dr. Opare juggles his profession with this fascinating talents. Needless to say he has won the hearts of many and a standing ovation too.

I met up with Elvis Opare recently to learn more about his craft as a spoken word artist.

Akosua: It’s an honour to have you Elvis

Elvis: It is really my humblest pleasure to be here. Thanks

Akosua: Your poems are very passionate, both in delivery and content. What led to the passion for spoken word?

Elvis: Personally, I have had difficulty answering this question, I essentially write how I feel or speculate/envision/think on how the idea or topic I am penning down could affect any one that is including me. This, also translates in my delivery or performance. Writing to me has always been innate. My observations as well as my experience in my life so far just kind of fuels my content and delivery, not forgetting the power of ones mind – the power of imagination.

Akosua: By innate, would you say that most of your write up sterns from real life experience(s)?

Elvis: Yes I would say a couple.

Akosua: Who is Dr. Elvis Opare?

Elvis: Hahaa. Deep one. I am first all a man who believes in all things – that is to say open-minded and very inviting to anything new. I am sucker for the arts and believe in the power of the arts ie drawing, painting, acting, writing (poetry, stories, spoken word), sculpturing… I mean anything that involves translating the abstract into reality. Surprising, I am Doctor.

Akosua: Interesting😄
Would you say, you made a wrong choice in career path during High school days?

Elvis: I would just say this, “Had I known…”

Akosua: “Had I known…?”

But Dr. It has paid off. Right? I mean you are a Medical Doctor and it’s an honourable Job plus it’s well paid too.. compared to poetry. Think through…would you have made money with poetry?

Medical Doctor who is artistically gifted

Elvis: Well, “well paid”, that is quite debatable. It is an honourable job. Yes. Poetry is an avenue not just based on skill but passion as well, just like any other profession. Would I have made money? hmmm… why not? there are many millionares in the performing arts. Remember “the gift of a man will make way for him” . I wished I had known sooner. So, yes, it is possible to make money and ” not just manage in life”

Akosua: Is this a full time Job aside your field of Medicine or a side gig?

Elvis: for now it is something I do on the side, but i wouldn’t mind diving all in when the opportunity presents itself. I am really passionate about writing, spoken word and acting.

Akosua: Let’s talk about your 2019 performance. ” Yadah 2019″. Where you performed “In the beginning of your praise” A very ravishing piece I must say…

Elvis performing at Yadah 2019

How did you feel after that terrific performance

Elvis: It was an incredible moment and the biggest live performance I have done so far. It was also a redefining point in my journey of performing as I had just gone through a terrible live spoken word performance like a month or so and also as i had little to time to prepare for the Yadah 2019 performance.

Akosua: Talking about “preparation” as a spoken word artist Can you perform without Massive preparations? So we say you are Extemporaneous at certain times ?

Elvis: I believe in preparation. Preparation is highly vital in any performers life and routine. that is consistent practice on your piece and your craft. Live performance can be scary at times. So going on stage without adequate preparation doesnt bode well for any performer. lack of preparation always shows. It is not the prayer of any performer that something goes awry while performing but with adequate preparation and consistency, there is a 100% chance of remarkable recovery or improvision that sometimes goes unnoticed by the audience.

Akosua: I have been wondering. Why the stage name “Sparie”?

Elvis: My last name is Opare. So I just replaced the O with S as the S stands for Success and I changed the syllable at the end to make easy for folks to easily pronounce it Internationally.

Akosua: How do you juggle everything. poetry and painting plus your current job. ?

Phenomenal

Elvis: Simple. Make a plan and follow it. I try my very best to avoid procrastinating and work, work, work. Hard work

Akosua: 7 months ago you released your poem .“FORGIVE ME”
Do you see it as an easy task? Most especially when you just can’t forget about how hurtful people seem to be

Elvis: Yes. The thing is we all make mistakes. After all, “let him who has never sinned be the first to cast a stone”. However, some mistakes are very grievous to let go on whim or on simple apology. I wrote that piece “FORGIVE ME” on the basis of just forgiveness being really enough? Forgive me but the most important factor is the change. Forgive me but the essential element is my repentance from what I do. Forgiveness in itself I think would be meaningless if the “offender” never changes. the pieces also targetted inner forgiveness – people never tend to forgive themselves for their wrongs and issues. Sometimes people do/say hateful things not because they hate but because they hurt.

Akosua: I can see a bit of poetic lines in there..😄😄

Elvis: 😄😄

Akosua: Are your parents supportive with this talent?

Elvis: Yes they are. I have the best parents who are willing to support me in any venture provided it is what I truly desire.

Akosua: How are you using social media to brand yourself?
Any social media handles my ardent readers can follow you on?

Elvis: YouTube is very critical. that is where i upload all of my performances and videos. I use instagram and twitter to promote my videos as well. But it is something that actually out of my expertise but I try.

Beautiful 😍

These are my social media handles Instagram: @elvis_opare
@wordwithsparie
YouTube: word with sparie
Twitter: opare_elvis

Akosua: I loved watching your video on ” The Vow- I will love you till you die” It was so real and I could relate to it.

Of all your performances, which one would you say is the best of them all or your favorite?

Elvis: Well for me, “She Never came back”and “Forgive Me” are favourite so far since they both carry deep background stories and truth.

“She never came back”

Akosua: What challenge(s) do you face as a spoken word artist?

Elvis: First of all, it is the uncertainty if your piece will be well received by people
Also, for me “dramatizing” and “digitizing” my pieces take a lot of time and financial backing.

Akosua: Talking about financial backing, if it’s a challenge why don’t you just do the others and stick to spoken word as a fun activity or a hobby?

Elvis: The fact that something is hard, is not the proof that it will never crack. I have to understand that the secret is never stopping – I mean perseverance. It is my passion, my goal, so i may slow down but i will not stop. The best I will do is regroup, restrategize, refine and go in again. it all conforms to the chapters to the novel.

Akosua: As compared to the States, would you say People there are doing much better than Africa?
Because in Africa, Spoken word and Poetry isn’t well noticed and paid too

Elvis: Yes I guess. but in terms of fan base and audience. Also, in terms of revenue and sponsorship, artists outside of Africa have a network and a support sytem.

Akosua: Where’s your favourite place to be in for creative idea(s)?

Elvis: It is doesn’t matter to some extent for me but room is kind of my “shrine” and my brain. Well i have got a white board, I got writings and quotes pasted at various places in my room. I can galavant and pace up freely in my room when I’m in thought. However, with that aside, I can write anywhere…I even wrote a short piece in a noisy boys dormitory back in Senior High school at St. Peters. one time amidst all the commotion.

Akosua: Any word of encouragement for any young woman wants to venture into the spoken word industry?

Elvis: Don’t just be lyrical, mean it…that way people believe your words and then relate and by that your words become influential.

Akosua: Thanks so much Sparie. We appreciate this! More wins and we hope to have more performances and nice paintings after Covid-19.

Elvis: Thanks very much too. it is wonderful having share something with everyone and do not take this interaction for granted. thanks and stay safe.

Some of Elvis’ performance(s).

1. Watch “THE VOW – I will love you till I die” on YouTube

” The Vow- I will love you till you die”

2. Watch “THE MESSAGE EVERY WOMAN MUST HEAR [Spoken Word]” on YouTube

“The message every woman must hear”

3. Watch “BLACK WOMAN (PART 1): DARE TO EMBRACE YOUR BLACKNESS [live stage performance]” on YouTube

“Black Woman- Dare to embrace your blackness”

” Black Woman”

Watch “LETTER TO MY MISTRESS || Poetry” on YouTube

“Letter to my Mistress”

“Letter to my Mistress”

Art by Elvis Opare.

Images and Artistic Works of Elvis Opare.

His handiwork
Painting by Elvis
Jesse Gold- image by Sparie.
” Don’t just be lyrical, mean it…that way people believe your words and then relate and by that your words become influential” – Dr. Elvis Opare

Akosua & Elvis
Ghana, Personalities

Inspiring Read

Lockdown Challenge #Day 8😍

Making an effort to attain progress is key!

THE FACE OF LIT MOMENTS

Wondering what today’s post is about? Try not to think too hard. I’ll definately engage you soon with Day 8 challenge!

Who misses going for weddings and christening? Not to talk about parties and church activities?

The pandemic has really put a halt on all these i guess. Guess what i miss most?

My first ‘victim’ was Kwesi Asamoah – a Professional Photographer. I met Kwesi somewhere 2019, if my memory could set me right through a friend! Just a quick confession- he has since been my favourite photographer apart from Selagraphy and Reflex images.

“Corona” won’t allow me to take a sneak peek at what he loves doing, take shots for my upcoming birthday party i plan on throwing this year, so i decided to interview him online!

Interview start at 5p.m today after Dinner.

Akosua: Tell me about the Face of Lit Moment and how he started?

Kwesi: I am Norbert Twum-Kwafo, but you know me as Kwasi Asamoah, I am 28, graduated knust in 2015 with BA industrial art and major in Ceramics. I began my photography journey while in high school but I started to make it a business during my 2nd year at the University.
Lit Moments became official after my national service at Mfantsipim school, Cape Coast. I do photography, video production and graphic design all of which I thought myself to do through YouTube videos and assistance from some friends.

Akosua: Why the passion for photography?

Kwesi: I did visual arts in high school, and I always loved painting but I am not very good at it, so I developed the love for photography because it’s just like painting but this time you paint with light.
With the help of a camera.

Akosua: What was your family’s initial reaction when you started photography? Some parents don’t regard it as a lucreative job. How did they accept it?

Kwesi: My parents are very supportive of my work, they love what I do and try always to support in any way they can. But that wasn’t the case when I wanted to read visual art after JHS. My dad didn’t like that idea but he accepted it after seeing my progress in form one. And he even bought me my first camera when I was in form two.

Akosua: Why the Name Lit moments??

Kwesi: Lit Moments stands for the joyful memories that are made during celebrations which I capture. It also stands for the beautiful images I create.

Akosua: How would you rate photography in Ghana?
Is it well paid?

Kwesi: Yes, it’s OK, but just like any other busines you get paid according to your worth. So basically in Ghana if you invest more into your craft and people get to know your value they pay more for your work. But we have a lot to achieve, we will get there.

The face of Lit Moments- Kwesi Asamoah.

Akosua: How special and unique is your brand from others?
Like Selagraphy, Reflex Images, Robby Abbeaquye etc

Kwesi: Well, am still growing, I am constantly learning, we all make photos and videos but the difference is in the experience you live in the heart and mind of the client and the people you get into contact with.

Akosua: What has been one of your best moments?

Kwesi: My best moment has always been my first ever wedding when I started lit moments. It was basically a free job, and the best part of the whole thing is what the groome said to me after the event. He said “thank you Norbert, you are a great person not everyone will do what you have done, you don’t even know me, keep doing good.”
And we are in touch till date. I’ve had lot of good memories with every client but this is the one I hold dearly.

Lit moments

Akosua: Let’s talk about the pandemic and how it has affected people who move from place to place to work.
Photographers are no exceptional
How are you coping?

Kwesi: Yeah… the pandemic has really affected my work, you know before this pandemic I used to work almost every weekend, but now no there’s no work. All my April and May clients had to postpone or cancel so business is really down.
I am okay for now but I don’t think I will be okay if this continues for More than 3 months.

Best work of Lit Moments

Akosua: When you look back, at your life and career, what are you proud of?

Kwesi: The fact that i am doing what I love with all my heart and the people I have been able to help through my works. Things have not been perfect but I have no regrets. 🙂

Lit moments- His works

Akosua: Is photography stressful?

Kwesi: Yes sometimes, mostly when you are dealing with a difficult client. But I enjoy it either ways.

Akosua: What are your price ranges? And how do you range it? Do you do a guess work?😁
Both indoor and outdoor locations.

Kwesi: Pricing mostly depends on lots of factors but I assure you that lit moments works well with everyone in any budget range, we believe that in life all are not equal but we serve every client equally with hardwork and love.

Kwesi shot this!

Akosua: Which is your favorite lens? Why?

Kwesi: 😄I love my 17-50mm sigma lens. It works great in all situations, weather am doing video or photography.

Akosua: How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

Kwesi: Most of the time I learn from youtube, but I I also have some friends who are very good so they critique my work and guide me as to what to do. Also I practice a lot.

Akosua: Any renowned photographer you looked up to when growing up?

Kwesi: Yes, I learnt a bit from Kwesi Asephua, he is a fashion photographer in Ghana, a very talented artist. And also Bob pixels, I followed his works on social media a lot, I love his work.

After the pandemic, i’m pretty sure, there will be lots of Christening, weddings, birthday parties, hangouts, etc…

Kindly contact Kwesi Asamoah via these social media handles:

Social media Instagram handle.
@its_litmoments
@kwasi_ _asamoah

Facebook handle
Norbert Twum Kwafo
@litmoments

Email address
Itslitmoments@gmail.com

Contact
0543470027, call and whatsapp

Some of Kwesi’s works♥️♥️♥️

Lit moments
Yaaas! Call him today for your beautiful images.
Beautiful Akosua

I love this! I hope you do too. Look no further for your beautiful images. Give him a call!♥️

Who is She? – My WCW!

Hello Everyone…

I know I have been quiet for some months now. Let’s just say, I have been a bit preoccupied with work and some other fun activities. However, I am back after this long period of silence.

I was going through a phase I did not want to talk about(healing process) but thankfully God came through for me all the time!

I wish I could send out hugs to everyone, I have really missed you all.

Now, now… What do we have today? Today is Wednesday and I want to flaunt my Woman Crush for the world to know and appreciate her!

Guys, chill okay, Wednesdays are for the Women only.

Naa Oyoo Quartey stands out from the lot! Check out her social media handles yet?

She is an old student of Mfantsiman Girls High School. And completed her first degree at the University of Ghana Business School in banking and finance. She did a few internships at Barclays and realised the bank environment wasn’t her thing. She had to ran.

Her first job was in the oil and gas industry. She worked in the health and safety department for six years in several roles gaining training along the way. Her career in that ended in 2015.

She grew an interest in social media when she started blogging in 2011. She took several courses, attended virtual conferences and beefed up her knowledge in social media marketing. Which is interesting as she actually studied CIM some years back. She use Instagram a lot to market and promote her works and her street photography..

I love the fact that she dresses in a simple but a more attractive way. Not much of a fan of Make-up and other artificial looks! She nails it at every occasion. Her dresses suits the type of occasions too. Mostly in braids, heels are her kinda thing!

Her way of speaking in a calm manner gets me. She loves to read, travel, read books and blogs about everything. She is down to earth and motivates people with her write up’s. She founded an African print crafts online business RootsbyNaa which was awarded Innovation Hero by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. This further saw her featured by Google Africa Connected.

She has always been a self-starter for as long as she can remember. Starting One Baobab was her idea to help Ghanaian businesses in their social media marketing in which Ghana is dwelling in its early growth stage.

Her love for Waakye and Beans with plantain! She loves listening to Radio and cooking can’t be taken out of her schedule!

She loves God first. Her hobbies range from photography, cooking and eating good food, trying out new things especially where food and crafts are concerned. She loves to travel. There’s so much to see! She loves dogs and cats. The beach is her place of solace and regeneration. She loves blockbusters!

Contact
You can contact Naa Oyoo Quartey on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow Naa on:

NaaOyooQuartey.com

MEET THE RISING FEMALE VERSATILE SEAMSTRESS-INNOCENTIA POLLEY

Fashion has seen tremendous change over the last couple of years with men, women and children finding new trends for every occasion. It is noted that a lot has been going on in the Ghanaian fashion styles. The industry in its entirety has gone far and there is the need to appreciate the efforts of these designers who are doing their best. Popular up-coming seamstress’ and tailors like Enyonam Akuba , Atigma designs Smiles’ designs Rhodel’s Couture, Wonder Couture, Iceberg Fashion, to name but a few have developed their unique style of designing.

Last month, I decided to try one of these designers. I encountered a rather talented young woman who delivered a fascinating style and a different kind of flare I was unfamiliar with. After my usual Thursday Youth class, for some reasons, I just had to pass by her Shop with my Six yards of two set of African Prints. She, however, recommended some styles for me to choose from the lot. Needless to say Miss Innocentia Polley deserves a standing ovation for her up-beat style in Sewing and other skills.

I met up with innocentia Polley recently to learn more about her craft as a seamstress, Barber, Baker and a Sign language interpreter in Ghana.

Akosua – Tell me more about yourself?

Inno: I have been independent since my first degree at the University of Education Winneba, where I studied B. A. English Education. My only motivation is my mum. I happen to be the last born of 6 siblings. They are all not educated. The females have given birth to a lot of children with no better husbands to look after them. I look at their lives and decided that I will change my family. I decided I will educate myself against all odds and here I am today. My family know that I live in Accra but they don’t know what I do for a living. They have no idea of what I do. I work hard so that I can send some money home.

Akosua- You made mention that apart from sewing, you do other things as well. What are some of these skills you possess?

Inno: I love to be independent especially of men. I know with God I will make it. I therefore learned every skill I come across so that I could make a living out of it. I learnt how to barber in SHS so I barbered all the children in my area including my father. Sewing, Baking, Barbering and Sign language (favorite). I love to sell too.

Akosua- What led to the creation of this Brand? “Centia’s Kreations”

Inno: “Centia” is just a part of Innocentia. And kreations – I feel like I create everything I sew that’s why. I have been working on my own as an fashion designer in the fashion industry for quiet some time now.

Akosua – How do Juggle everything you do together with studies at school?

Inno: Currently, I’m schooling in Winneba and having my MPhil in Applied Linguistics. I don’t find it stressful because I see the others as a break off from academics. I see them as hobbies so I do them when I need to take some leisure.

Akosua- Where do you see your self in the next 5 years?

Inno: becoming a Doctor in my field of study. The next time you will see me, I’d be carrying the title Dr. Innocentia Polley

Akosua- Ever thought of another skill?
Inno: I have actually thought about Computer- based one. Like making flyers, editing, Photoshop stuffs. I really love PHOTOGRAPHY but I can’t afford a camera now. But I will surely do it one day.

Akosua -: Did you learn all these skills on your own or you groomed yourself?

Inno: I groomed myself in some way. And I also try to get closer to people I can learn a skill from. So I was very selective in making of new friends.

Akosua -: Is it a full time activity or a side gig and how do your friends feel about this talent.

Inno: It’s a side gig for now. I want to focus on my academics. My friends really like me for who I am and always wish they could be more like me.

Akosua : What challenge(s) do you face as a seamstress?

Inno: Sometimes, people are not willing to pay the full amount and it’s really depressing and worrisome. It will change over time though, I am hopeful. Especially, when you haven’t slept all night and sit behind the machine to get their clothes ready on the said date they need it.

Akosua: How are you using social media to brand yourself?Any social media handles that someone can reach you on?

Inno: For now I am on Pinterest .com and that is where I post my beautiful designers of my customers. You can visit me through this link:

https://pin.it/ztkm6orcxycxfj

Akosua: Any word of encouragement for any young woman wants to venture into this fashion industry?

Inno: Its an amazing feeling to do things with ur own hands. Seriously, my sewing machine has a way of killing my boredom. When I am sewing, I don’t think about anything else. Don’t let fear stop you; just jump and build your wings on the way down. It is important to be self motivated and constantly create opportunities for yourself. Set your own standards- your principles and values should be your identity. The only way to get started is actually get started. Just do it. If you want to write, just start writing. If you want to sew, just start it right.

Follow innocentia on Pinterest
https://pin.it/ztkm6orcxycxfj
Akosua & Inno
Ghana, Personalities

Some of Inno’s works – Crentia’s Kreations.

In 2020, Miss Innocentia Polley graduated with an Mphil in Applied linguistics and graduated as the overall best Student.

Miss Innocentia Polley as Best graduating student in Mphil Applied Linguistics