Araba Opoku Ghanian, b. 1998


Opoku’s art is not concerned only with suffering and anguish. Her commentaries on the water crisis also capture the freedom, joy, and abundance that water signifies, represented by graceful flows of paint and plethora of colour. Opoku begins each painting by creating a digital image of her vision, which allows her to experiment with colour and form. This vision is then transferred to canvas. Her artistic process mirrors the effect of water, as she washes canvases with flowing brushstrokes and watery acrylic paint. Paint is allowed to drip naturally, mimicking the uninhabited nature of water. In contrast, Opoku employs curved grid lines to restrain this movement of paint, symbolising the human attempt to control water supplies. The end result of thickly-layered paint and gracefully warped subjects represents water as both life-giving and an enduring source of uncertainty and suffering. Her paintings in general reference her immediate environment by representing specific streets, home gardens, and daily scenes in the community she lives in. The subtlety and precision of her art allows her to speak to the fullness of life as well its decay.


Araba Opoku (b. 1998) is a multi-disciplinary artist who was born and currently resides in Accra, Ghana. Opoku is known for creating dreamy, abstract paintings that explore the texture of life amidst various socio-economic crises persisting in Ghana. Her work is characterised by fluid shapes, flowing lines, and blended hues which produce an aqueous effect that almost resembles richly painted textiles. Opoku’s early work speaks to the water scarcity and rationing that prevails in Accra, as exemplified by her first solo exhibition, Come Hell or High Water, at the ADA\ contemporary art gallery in Accra. The liquid illusion of these paintings speaks to the centrality of water to Accra’s daily rhythms as well as the distortions the water crisis produces in life. From awaking in a dream-like state at midnight to fetch water to the stupor that one continues the rest of the day in, Opoku’s work captures the warped state of life amidst water scarcity. Other works speak to social issues such as mental health crises individuals and families experience, and the silence and stigma that surround them.

Balancing her art practice with her education in Psychology at the University of Ghana, Opoku has exhibited her works at several group exhibitions in Ghana, the UK, and USA. Her work was showcased at Art X Lagos in 2021, and resides in several collections in New York, London, and Ghana. For her artistic talent she was awarded the inaugural Yaa Asantwewaa Art Prize by Gallery 1957 in 2021. Opoku is the creative director and member of the art collective Artemartis, which has done much to highlight and platform emerging artists in Ghana.