Four Ghanaian student entrepreneurs pull off biggest Christmas arts exhibition

A family poses for pictures in one of the arts rooms

It all started when four friends with an immeasurable passion for arts stirred up their zeal to create a platform to showcase the beauty of creative expressions.

In less than two years, a business touch to the idea has crystalised to birth ‘Some Levels of Loose’ (SLOL) Coterie with a presence in Ghana, USA, Australia, Scotland, England and Canada.

Mr Kaku Tumi, a third-year Psychology student of Ryerson University, Canada; Emmanuel Anie-Akwetey, a third-year Politics and International Relations student of the University of Manchester, England; Emmanuel Noi Omaboe II, a third-year Economics student at Wheaton College, US, and Wilfred Arthur, a final-year student in Economics and Finance at the University of Reading, UK, are Co-founders and Creative Directors of SLOL Coterie.

A team of PLWD at the exhibition

The firm publicises and markets scores of dynamic arts which blend advanced techniques and modern technology from its current membership of 15 young talented students across the globe aged between 20 and 25.

To climax a year marked by national publicity for tourism and a clarion call for the diaspora to visit Ghana, as part of ‘The year of return’, the Trade Fair Centre in Accra sprung up to life as hundreds of patrons thronged the venue for the maiden edition of the SLOL Mind arts exhibition.

The event featured different illusions gallery, blended with aesthetic collectibles, paintings, photography, graffiti, fashion pop-ups and a mix of different novel entertaining activities.

Seven rooms presented various optical illusions which got participants immersed in an interactive world of beautiful modern art, a unique experience which departs from traditional presentations.

Imaginary creations which connect to the spiritual and emotional being featured in the themes that run through all the artwork.

The Infinite Room displayed an illusion of expanded space; the Colour Room, set up with a triad of lights – red, green and blue – casts, multi-coloured shadows in the path of the light rays; and the Under Surveillance Room, made up of multiple TV sets, depicts the advent of social media, which has created a lack of privacy but embraced by enthusiasts, creating an erosion of confidentiality in modern society.

Featuring prominently was the Chain Room, comprising metaphorical hanging chains draped in red (blood) and white paint. This depicts a break from the shackles of bondage, limitation and oppression of Ghanaians.

The most captivating section was the Augmented Reality Room. It has bar codes linking hard copy photographs to multimedia app Snapchat. The images come alive in motion after you scan the code with a cellphone via Snapchat.

An experience of the Colour Room

SLOL Cotorie collaborated with various partners including August by OBF, Ashanti Swimwear and Chester’s Bar.

They Cofounders were joyful for a successful event held over a week during the Yuletide.

Mr Anie-Akwetey disclosed that SLOL Coterie is a Christian concept for soul-saving through arts even though it cuts across different faiths with uplifting messages.

“It was about helping people with issues such as depression and building a clear source of an idea about how you can develop and elevate yourself through arts, music and creative themes,” he stated.

He believes government should “invest, advertise and promote local artists and their works in Ghana and across the globe”.

For his part, Mr Tumi stated that: “In Ghana, there are inadequate avenues for expression” hence the establishment of SLOL Coterie project.

“I feel we don’t value arts as much as we should but that is what we are trying to change,” he revealed heartily as one of the main goals for the project.

He was concerned that successive governments have “their minds somewhere, their minds are not focused on arts”. He urged leaders in the country to “pay attention to the Ghanaian artiste”.

Additionally, he is advocating funding, provision of multiple spaces to properly showcase Ghanaian artwork and collaboration between industry players to uplift the sector to standards witnessed in other parts of the world.

A key figure behind the concept, Mr Wilson, sees the vision of SLOL Coterie being a global giant promoting music, paintings, fashion, architecture to most countries across the globe in 10 years.

In a few words, Mr Omaboe encouraged authorities to ensure “subsidies to try and support young artistes to put Ghana in the global limelight”.

One of the few charismatic young female exhibitors, Esperanza Don-Obilor, a second-year student studying Pharmacy at the Robert-Gordon University, Scotland, submitted a collection of photo artworks from a budding alternative career in photography.

The teen, who hails from a strong African background, found it difficult to infuse photography into demands and expectations of her family but finally took off only two years ago to pursue her passion.

It has not been easy balancing academic studies in pharmacy with an unorthodox urge for photography in the two male-dominated sectors but her spontaneous attraction and inseparable comfort in her cameras keep her going.

She received countless positive reviews from the event but was quick to add: “I’m not there yet” and “I don’t charge people to do photos”.

Ms Esperanza, who has dreams of being the personal photographer of Nigerian musician, Santi, her idol, adds: “A fund will be nice” from the government to support young people in the sector.

Mr Delali Cofie, a Digital Media student from York University, Canada, was one of the people also showcased his works of art.

His love for photography and digital arts inspired him to drop from his programme in Mechanical Engineering and switch to digital media in the same university.

On display were five exhibits from separate photo series including a captivating shot he calls ‘Loss of Self’ which is part of a series titled ‘Angel’, a tribute to a dead friend. The purpose of the series is to create awareness about mental health in the black community.

He encouraged more members in the creative industry to connect and explore to expand their frontiers.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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