Ghana’s Noldor Residency Draws Artists to Former Pharmaceutical Factory


By Sam Gaskin for Ocula

Year-long junior and senior fellowships have been added to the residency program launched last year by 24-year-old Joseph Awuah-Darko.


Ghana's Noldor Artist Residency is expanding to include new year-long programmes for senior and junior fellows. The fellowships build on an annual four-week residency that was inaugurated in November 2020.

Noldor's artists will make work in 700 square metres of studios adapted from a former pharmaceutical factory in Accra's Labadi district, one of the city's emerging cultural hubs.


Joseph Awuah-Darko, the residency's founder and director, said repurposed industrial spaces such as Beijing's 798 district 'have acted as havens for some of the most iconic artistic production in history.'

'By revisiting these decaying warehouses ... we envisioned and seized their full potential at a time when access to artistic infrastructure and resources is extremely limited in Ghana,' he said.


Mid-career artist Gideon Appah will be the residency's first senior fellow, while emerging artists Abigail Aba Otoo and Joshua Oheneba-Takyi will be its first junior fellows. Emmanuel Taku became Noldor's first artist in residence after spending four weeks on site in November 2020.


While all the artists to receive opportunities so far come from Ghana, the residency is aimed at artists from across Africa living in the continent and in diaspora.


The residency is administered by Awuah-Darko, curator Rita Benissan, and advisory patrons including architect Sir David Adjaye OBE. It has also partnered with Gallery 1957 in Accra and Maruani Mercier in Knokke, Belgium, who will show works by Noldor fellows in the coming months. Taku's debut solo show, The Chosen Few, will be presented at Maruani Mercier from 3 April to 15 May.


Interest in Ghanaian artists such as Amoako BoafoOtis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, and Kwesi Botchway has surged over the past year. Adora Mba, who opened ADA \ contemporary art gallery in Accra last October, told Ocula Magazine, 'I am confident that Ghana will grow to become the new art hub of Africa.'