Bright Ackwerh – Ghana’s Genius Satiric Illustrator

June 3, 20164 min read

The indescribable euphoria I felt when I first learned about illustrator Bright Ackwerh work still hovers around me. As a newcomer to his work, I deliberately shut off people’s opinions for an organic, intimate experience. My first engagement came via Kenyan based Ghanaian musician, Delasi’s Thought Journey album debut.

Delasi's Thought Journey album cover illustrated by Bright Ackwerh.
Delasi’s Thought Journey album cover illustrated by Bright via CulArtBlog.

The album cover was so captivating it literally sang me the album. With a voracious appetite, I tore apart Google and Facebook, sniffing out and consuming his unbelievable, unapologetic catalog. I was, many times, so overwhelmed by his brilliance I had to blink back tears to compensate.

Bright on Kennedy Agyapong and Afia Schwarzenegger's love war.
Bright on Kennedy Agyapong and Afia Schwarzenegger’s love war.

Sweet, sweet vulgarism probably best describes his work, something he acknowledges by terming his work, very graphic. There is also a noticeable tint of French slapstick in his larger than life caricatures that gently pull up the corners of your lips.

#Ghandi4ComeDown artwork by Bright Ackwerh in support of a campaign to take down Ghandi's statue from the University of Ghana on the grounds that Ghandi was racist towards black people.

I have not encountered many contemporary Ghanaian artists unafraid to paint unvoiced thoughts, challenge the status quo and ignite public discourse as consistently as he does.

Black Sexcellence by Bright Ackwerh. A critique of Lupita Nyongo's Oscar award in a movie that satisfied a western narrative of Africa and black peoples.

Ackwerh is an audacious renegade who, aided by his well-deserved social media following, not only puts on blast, but probes Ghanaians’ (and the rest of the world’s) social and moral conscience.

Ghana @ 59. Artwork showcasing Kwame Nkrumah with all his achievements for Ghana that have been sold to foreginers
Ghana @ 59 – Bright’s interpretation of Ghana’s 59 (in)dependence anniversary via yoyo tinz

As talented as they come, Bright doubles as a graffiti muralist who has painted murals (Million Man Riot with Nii Odzenma ) at ACCRA[dot]Alt’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival and recently, the Meeting of Styles Graffiti show in Jamestown, Accra’s growing art theater.

Bright Ackwerh poses beside his mural at the Meetig of Styles Graffitti Experience
Bright Ackwerh poses beside his mural at the Meeting of Styles Graffiti Experience

Following his online antics ranging from charged rants on plagiarism to the failure of media outlets to highlight prominent up-comers, I was somewhat surprised at his real-life demeanour, friendly, knowledgeable, seriously jovial and carefree.

Bright Ackwerh via Naa Oyoo Quartey

Winner of the 2016 Kuenyehia Art Prize with his Tweaa Room: Confrontation piece, Bright has shared insights and the process behind his enviable repertoire at Ashesi University, the Alliance Française Institute in Accra, the Rotary Club, the Studio and the MESH Confab, continually proving he is a lighthouse of mod African expression, beaconing the African narrative through satiric storytelling.

Bright Ackwerh receiving his Kuenyehia Prize via Blaxstarlines
Bright Ackwerh receiving his Kuenyehia Prize via Blaxstarlines

A prolific visualist, Bright is fervently working on his #veryverygraphic series and if you’re as hungry for talent as I was, Bright’s welcomingly intrusive art is a feast you can’t skip.

The Son's Tear from Bright Ackwerh's Very Very Graphic Series. ARt shows Barack Obama pleading for mercy from a crying Muamar al Ghadaffi who sits on a throne in what could be interpreted as heaven.
The Son’s Tear from Bright’s Very Very Graphic Series

Take a bite here and here and don’t forget to Ink Creativity. Happy half-year. All illustrations by Bright Ackwerh, via Naa Oyoo Quartey, yoyo tinz, Cul Art Blog, Blaxtarlines, Abdulero Photography and himself.

Also, do check out Bright’s refreshing yoyo tinz pidgin inerview here.

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