Artist Hacajaka is a member of the famous Prekese group of artists who in the mid-90s took over the art scene in Ghana like a tsunami. Included in that group were Frank Asomani, Kofi Agorsor and Mark Buku who did things out of the ordinary as they exhibited in restaurants, libraries, banks, office buildings, zoos and in prisons, thereby bringing art closer to the people.
Though Asomani, Agorsor, Buku and Hacajaka have veered into being active practicing pastors, the latter’s enthusiasm for painting has not diminished and like the Florentine friars, Fran Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippo are using their art, talent and skills to glorify humanity.
Many may not be familiar with his works but everyone remembers the famous brown batakari which had a strip of leopard skin sown on it and won by President Jerry Rawlings the day President Bill Clinton came calling. That is one of Hacajaka’s designs!
The very talented Hacajaka with ‘his drive, ambition and educational background could have been a contender as a successful lawyer or doctor but believes that his artistic talent is for a purpose’ which will be on display when he mounts an exhibition of his latest paintings at the Dei Centre, Tesano, Accra beginning November 14.
He and Owusu Ankomah have distinguished themselves as Ghanaian Diasporas who have incorporated adinkra symbols into their works making them rather unique without lowering standards.
As he confessed, many of these works emerged from his depressive period having lost his mother in 2012. That experience ‘… left me physically withdrawn but spiritually hypersensitive to the point of becoming a new man with new interests. Ironically, the area of my life that I expected to die (my artistic creativity) was what I depended on to survive besides prayer and reading’ was how he described the urge that made him paint these works which includes one titled Adjoavi dedicated to his mother of that name. Thus the whole Eyes exhibition ‘… is a conceptual reflection on what and who my mother was and still is to me despite her departure. She was my eyes, all I saw in life, I saw through her eyes ….’
In his current exhibition, according to veteran art curator Widdup Coubagee ‘… there are no gimmicks. In Eyes, there are no histrionics and pandering to market forces. What we have are songs to tolerance, forgiveness, resilience, endurance, courage, bravery, fortitude and hope in the face of the dark forces of persecution and tyranny. In ‘The Savannah Fisherman,’ ‘Gospel Bearer’, ‘Ethiopian Eunuch’ and the powerful and irreverent ‘Madonna with the Fish Tatoo’, Hacajaka has displayed a profound understanding and mastery of his subject. He has endowed his subjects with emulating virtues.’
There are other art pieces like ‘Two Strings, a Pipe & a Key in the Hands of a Saint’ and ‘Melons’ which appeal more to one’s sensual pleasures.
The USA-based Hacajaka, a graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST, Kumasi and a masters’ degree holder in African Art History is not a stranger to the Dei Center where in 2013 he held a group exhibition tagged ‘Discerning Eyes’. He has also exhibited at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, Ntonso School, Asafo Gallery, National Theatre, Accra and other far flung venues in Washington, USA, Colchester, Amarillo, Texas among many others.
As an individual he has held solo exhibitions at Asafo Gallery, Accra, Ghana Embassy, Washington, Shell Headquarters, Accra and many other places.
The exhibition which begins November 14 ends on December 6, 2019.
- Hacajaka in the studio
- Family Reunion 2018 Acrylic / Ink on canvas
- The Rage of Elisha, 2018 Acrylic / ink on canvas
- The Gospel Bearer. 2018
- Ethiopian Eunuch. 2018
- Dreams. 2018
- Two Strings, A Pipe & A Key in the Hands of A Saint. 2019
- Madonna with Fish Tattoo. 1999
- Hacajaka with the Divine Drummer, Ghanaba
- Pres. Rawlings in the Hacajaka designed smock with Pres. Clinton