TNG: What drew you to become an artist? 

A: Growing up, I’ve always had a passion for learning and discovery. Be it math, computer science, economics or African history; I’ve constantly felt this yearning to dig deeper into various topics as a way to better understand both myself and the world around me. Art happened to be one of those early interests which have stuck with me from my childhood days of drawing cartoons and building with Legos.

Eventually I also began to notice how art allowed me to synthesize all my other interests in ways that made me comprehend these topics better and in my own way. When I subsequently began sharing my creations, I noticed that others also found value and meaning in what I was doing. These discoveries happened to coincide with the peak of my disillusionment with colonially programmed norms, particularly within the spheres of education, religion, nutrition, society and selfhood.

From then onwards, my practice took on a more formal air, as I began utilizing art to explore themes of decolonization and alternative ways of being. Thus in essence, I’d say my innate curiosity was the primary draw me to become an artist.

TNG: How does a typical day in the studio look like for you?

A: My days in the studio vary, but usually involve cycles of researching, questioning, visioning and making. After a short workout or yoga session, I’ll often take a walk in the studio garden, reflecting on the day’s tasks and also soaking in natural inspiration. Then I’ll either immerse myself in a book or listen to an online talk or lecture for research and fuel for my curiosity. This research sparks new questions that I'll contemplate while going about my morning. Often I’ll start visually brainstorming in my sketchbook afterwards, playing with shapes, symbols and characters. When a concept feels right, I'll start experimenting digitally or with mixed media techniques to bring it to life. And since my studio is a shared space, I will often have discussions with my colleagues, bouncing ideas off each other to gain different perspectives and help advance whatever project or piece is under discussion.

TNG: Your quest to decolonize imagination and stimulate afro-consciousness is a powerful mission. Can you share some of the key moments or experiences that sparked this journey and how it has influenced your work as an artist and social entrepreneur?

A: Given Ghana’s colonial history—and despite our so-called ‘independence’—we still live with several remnants of colonial power structures. These colonial residues are deeply embedded within our frameworks of governance, formal education systems, religion and spirituality, food systems and many other facets of Ghanaian life. Because of this twisted indoctrination, there are expectations on how to move correctly within the system and how to behave ‘properly’.

As a naturally curious person, I always wondered why things had to be this way. As a child, these questions particularly centred on religion, because I didn’t understand why we had to go to church every Sunday, shape every aspect of life around one book, and worship a (white) God that we had never actually seen before, and one who was forced upon us. It all felt odd to me and got my mind stirring from an early age. The education system also got me questioning, as I increasingly started to wonder why I had to memorize certain material that I would only regurgitate on exam papers but likely never use in real life. “Chew and pour” as we call it in Ghana.

All this questioning came to head when I was in college. There I constantly interacted with others who had been questioning like me and also met people who were living authentically different lives from the ones that had been prescribed to me. These experiences pushed me to dive deeper into Africa’s histories and to research the reasons why things were the way they were in Ghana. From what I uncovered, I realized how our history had been thoroughly whitewashed and how our people had been violently brainwashed by imperialist agendas. Due to these grave injustices, I started to feel a silent but tangible rage, which influenced me to get on my current life’s path. My mission to decolonize imagination really took off here, as I’d recognized the extent to which our imaginations had become stifled and fixed within certain colonially demarcated boundaries. I felt an urgency to help reverse the effects of these ideologies that were holding us back as people and stunting our children and their futures. I also realized I had a lot of unlearning to do as well, since the negative effects of these systems had also affected me. And so I committed to using my life’s work to help make that happen, both in art and in business. I want my work to inspire others to look deeper within, question the world around them, explore world history and consider alternative ways of being, outside of only those things that are prescribed to them from childhood. It’s the only way we will ever truly be independent.

TNG: Afro-consciousness is a theme central to your work. How do you believe art and creative expression contribute to fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of African culture and heritage?

A: I believe the arts provide invaluable tools for fostering cultural awareness and pride. Creative expression allows us to articulate complex shared histories, envision liberatory futures, and transmit the intangible spirit of a people across generations. My Afro-conscious works aim to spark dialogue, shift harmful narratives, resurrect forgotten philosophies, and ultimately empower minds to reimagine the world outside the confines of colonialism. I strive for my art to be an invitation to connect with and celebrate Africa's mysticism and magic.

TNG: Surrealism and afrofuturism are prominent themes in your work. How do you believe these artistic styles allow you to explore and convey the complexity of the questions you ask, such as remembering who we were and knowing our various pasts?

A: I found surrealism to be perfectly suited to my mission of decolonizing imagination because it provides limitless freedom to dream beyond the constraints of ordinary perception. By fusing surrealism with Afrofuturism, I can envision radical, mystical futures completely outside dominant power structures and stories. This hyper-imaginative space allows me to pose provocative "what ifs" that help activate new ways of thinking that are often influenced by African history and knowledge systems.

TNG: Mindfulness is another aspect you emphasize in your mission. How do you use your art to encourage mindfulness and create a space for self-reflection and awareness?

A: Mindfulness meditation became a big part of my daily practice just over a decade ago. The more I made time to sit and meditate, the more serene I felt and the more connected I was to the world around me and within me. I also started to feel calmer, significantly less irritable, more tolerant of others and ultimately more joyful and content with simply being. Somehow this shift influenced my creativity and also pushed me to create in more mindful ways.

Because of the benefits I’d felt for myself after developing these practices, I was compelled to share my findings with others. I would talk openly about how my mindfulness practice influenced my work and I’d also make work that had to be engaged with in a solemn and contemplative fashion.

Encouraging people of African descent to adopt such practices is an important part of my mission for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are the widely documented health benefits of mindfulness meditation and practices such as yoga which involve lots of breath work. Our people should be healthy because without health nothing else is possible. Next, there is the element of self-love that mindfulness practices slowly nurture within practitioners. Centuries of oppression, whitewashing and the blatant lies from the west have pushed several Africans to see themselves as inferior, ultimately resulting in unconscious self-hate. I want to help reverse that through my work, by encouraging folks to create space for self-reflection and meditation.

TNG: Collaboration seems to be a significant part of your journey. How do you select the right partners and projects to work with, and how do these collaborations amplify the message you aim to convey through your art?

A: When it comes to collaboration, I try to work primarily with folks who share similar values. I also consider their past work, their philosophies of life and their ambitions for the future. As someone who is always looking to positively impact communities that I encounter and those that I am a part of, I am naturally drawn to others who are looking to do the same. Having these shared value systems and approaches to life ensures that we are on the same page as much as possible throughout the entirety of the collaboration. So in the end it is almost guaranteed that the messages we look to convey are amplified.

TNG: Your work spans across various mediums and platforms, from visual art to social projects. How do you see your art evolving and expanding in the future, and what new frontiers do you hope to explore?

A: My practice will continue evolving as my questions do. I'm excited to explore African cosmogonies, fractal architectures, ancestral technologies, plants, artificial intelligence and much more. I foresee partnering with scientists, artisans, local communities and other artists, to turn abstract visions into immersive art and also functional designs that propel us towards an abundant and more egalitarian future. Web3 also presents opportunities to fund once- impractical ideas and decentralize creative control so I imagine engaging more with that space as well. My intention is to remain flexible, imaginative, and intuition-led as we co-create decolonized futures. The possibilities truly feel endless when imagination is unshackled.

TNG: What message or advice do you have for aspiring artists and social entrepreneurs who are passionate about using their creativity to make a positive impact on the world?

A: My advice to aspiring creatives is to: Let your intuition guide you more than society's prescriptions. Your purpose and talents are unique; learn to tune into your personal truths and not live to only please the status quo. Embrace play, curiosity, and imaginary worlds again. Remember to spend time in and with Nature! Nature and her mysteries are the ultimate teacher so stay observant and listen attentively. And surround yourself with a community that encourages and supports your creative pursuits.