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Discovering Accra's Craftsmanship & Sustainable Culture Through The Eyes Of The Locals

March, 2021
Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 

In a captivating editorial, Art Comes First present their latest AW21 editorial shot in the stunning locale of Accra, Ghana — and more importantly, showcase the beauty of local talents that make up the creative fabric and workforce themselves; from local fishermen, tailors and street vendors to name a few.

What’s evident is that the pandemic has surely slowed things down but when the going gets tough the tough gets going as they say, it has presented new ways of looking and getting things done. With restrictions in usual activities, Shaka Maidoh and Sam Lambert — the duo behind Art Comes First — decided to take their experiences to West Africa, to learn more about the craftsmanship and sustainable culture through the eyes of the locals. The journey started in the capital of Ghana, Accra and extended to Tamale, and Kumasi before going to neighbouring countries such as Togo (Lomé), and ended in Ivory Coast (Abidjan) over a span of 5 – 6 weeks.

Utilising the Winter 21 collection pieces, Art Comes First created an editorial shoot to shine more light on local businesses. Focusing more on blue collar workers such as fisherman, freelance tailors commonly seen as street tailors, Okada (motorcycle taxi) and taxi drivers, Street vendors selling coconut water and more, basically the people who are helping the economy of the country that are hardly recognised. All of the models used are real and true to their profession.

The shoot also highlights the local myth and story around Mami Wata (Mother of Water) commonly referred to in the West as mermaid, which is about this beautiful light skinned woman who seduces fishermen and takes them away from their wives or families into the deep sea never to return. ACF’s interpretation with the shoot was more on local beauty and highlighting different shades of black, using a beautiful dark-skinned girl as a statement to challenge the skin bleaching trend that is vast and a trend in West Africa.

W.A.R.T (West African Road Trip) project has developed and given birth to another extension of the ACF Collective (African Creative Factory) in partnership with Ivorian fine art photographer Franck FANNY and much more to help bridge the gap between African creatives and the diaspora. The collection will exclusively be available at selected Nordstrom stores across USA and Canada as well as the art comes first website.

Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
Young fisherman Peter Agyei | Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 

W.A.R.T (West African Road Trip) 

Photography: Nana Frimpong Oduro
Production: Afrodistrict
Location: Accra, Ghana

Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
Art Comes First © Photo: Nana Frimpong Oduro 
March, 2021