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Gabriel Eklou - The Black Stars of Ghana - Art District

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Published on Sep 1, 2013

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In his artist studio in Accra, Ghana, Gabriel Eklou talks to Safia Dickersbach and speaks about his career as an artist, the themes of his artistic work and the role that art plays for him which is "all about creation, reasoning, thinking, changing things".

Gabriel Eklou worked as an accountant before he found his personal and professional fulfillment as a visual artist. In his words art allows him to do what his heart wants to do, it "makes his heart stable". Art makes him survive. Gabriel Eklou "finds himself in art", as he puts it, as others find themselves in music or singing.

Already while being a student at school, Gabriel Eklou discovered his artistic talent and sold his first art cards to tourists. He always kept his dedication to art, although after school and college he started to work as an accountant. During this time he conducted an exhibition in a restaurant and people were praising and buying his artworks. This showed him that he could earn a living as a painter even in difficult economic times, something that he had always been convinced of. This experience boosted his morale and gave him the last push to pursue a career in painting. In 1996 he left his work in accounting and began a career as a full-time professional artist. He has been successful ever since with regular exhibitions and recognition for his artworks in Ghana and overseas.

Gabriel Eklou considers himself an African painter. His art is about Africa. Africa is the thing that surrounds him. "Africa is the beginning and the base" as he says. For Gabriel Eklou Africa is his roots and the source of his artistic work.

Gabriel Eklou's painting technique includes being very economical with colour. He tends to use colour in a very light manner.

Another important element in Gabriel Eklou's works are Adinkra symbols. Those symbols have a long tradition in Ghanaian culture and are used to express concepts and aspects of daily life and to convey traditional wisdom. For Gabriel Eklou the Adinkra signs work as a signature on his paintings.

Most of his artworks depict tall thin figures like imaginary beings on stilts. Those towering and stretched beings are a trademark of Gabriel Eklou's paintings. They symbolize his philosophy of seeing far away, of being able to observe a wide landscape and to watch closely what happens in a remote distance.

Those tall people graciously sitting, standing or moving in a typical African surrounding of lightly coloured landscapes or urban settlements in earthy tones embody a refreshingly new expression of what represents and constitutes African daily life.

Read about the project on "This Is Africa": http://bit.ly/16ejiHb

Editing: David Picard
Camera: Enes Hakan Tokyay
Photos of the paintings: Ben Bond and thorupART
Music (for the questions): Ayo Nelson-Homiah -- "Express"
Music (for the credits): Sarkodie (Feat. E.L.) -- You Go Kill Me

A film by Safia Dickersbach

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SHOWCA...



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