Accra, Ghana (2002)

In 2002, Lily Yeh traveled to Accra, Ghana to collaborate with her host Heidi Owu, a dedicated educator in the International School in Accra, and other community leaders to carry out a land transformation project. The project took place in an impoverished neighborhood in Jamestown, located in the old section of the city.

The undertaking engaged hundreds of children and adults in transforming a bleak courtyard into a public space full of patterns and colors. The project encouraged people’s creativity and action, allowing the people to feel hopeful and empowered.

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We worked at an old fort not far from the sea. So many children waiting to participate in our art activities

We got the children to help each other paint themselves.

We provided canvases, colors, and brushes. Children picked their colors and started painting. Everyone was happy.

Raw and primitive, but full of energy and daringness.

Another group painting activity

Inventive, expressive, and fun

The success of the children’s workshop of 200 youth was successful because of the help from these volunteers.

Celebration ceremony

A public space in Jamestown, old Accra. Though bleak, children use it as their playground.

We painted the rough benches white. After sketching some simple patterns on the benches, Lily charted them with colors.

Whoever interested could join in to paint the benches. So many people, children and adults participated.

The transformed playground in Jamestown in 2002.

In 2010, we heard from our host, Nii Teiko Tagoe, Project Director, Ga Mashie Development Agency that the bench mural we created in 2002 had faded and weather worn. Collaborating with the Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana, his team organized people from the community to get the benches repaired. (The 2010 photo series, courtesy of Nii Teiko Tagoe)

Working with artists in Accra, Ga Mashie Development Agency and the Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana sponsored the repainting of the bench murals.

Photo from the article How can art bring purpose to Accra’s public spaces? by Victoria Okoye

Dedication

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