Nii Obodai

Nii Obodai
Nii Obodai, From the Edge to the Core, Who Knows Tomorrow, 2009

The photographs in From the Edge to the Core were made during a journey through Ghana taken with Nii Obodai’s friend and fellow photographer, Bruno Boudjelal. The content is straightforward – villages, roads and people along the way. But the way in which Nii Obodai deals with these scenes through the lens of his camera is full of poetic and spiritual meaning. The artist balances images, precariously, at the edge of focus, on the verge of slipping away from being figured. He allows the light, and the dark, to fill the small closed room of his camera and make intense flares and shadows upon his film and prints. In doing this, a child becomes of the beach rather than on it; a man’s head dematerializes; a road is effulgent with the light of the sun.

Nii Obodai’s intentions in this project, as an artist, is to create a visual relationship between the land, the culture of Ghana and the question of being. His father was a close friend and aide of the country’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, and the ideology of that struggle for independence from Britain in the 1950s is evident in Nii Obodai’s intent – the artist avoiding identifying tribal affinities or locations in a desire to represent one Ghana and one authentic self.


Born in 1963 in Accra in Ghana where he currently lives and works. His practice is photographic and also exploring sound and music.

Previous exhibitions include Neither Black Nor White, Studio Kurtycz, Accra, 2011, Identity Bluffs, Stedlijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2011; For a Sustainable World, Bamako, Mali 2011; Africa: See You See Me, Lisbon, Portugal, 2010; Who knows Tomorrow at the Alliance Française, Accra, Ghana 2009; Another World, Bamako, Mali in 2005.

He has taken part in residencies at the Watershed in Bristol in 2007 and the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2005.

Ongoing projects include Who Knows Tomorrow with Bruno Boudjelal; Liberation of Soul, a travelogue exploring the future of Africa; Negotiating Spaces working with an urban slum community in Accra, out of which he has created a short photographic film, The MisAlignment of a Polarised Black Star; Mentation, a three minute black and white video film on Thai Kick Boxing; The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, a collective exhibition involving the artists of La based on the book.

Works in the show

From the Edge to the Core, Who Knows Tomorrow, 2009

Digital Prints

Dimensions varied

Photos Courtesy of the Artist


Martin Barlow, curator of the exhibition Moving Into Space at the National Football Museum talks about the exhibition.

Barthélémy Toguo, Lucy Azubuike and Nnenna Okore, three of the exhibited artists, talk about their work and their interest in using materials which reflect the lifestyle and experience of the people of West Africa.

Twitter (#wefaceforward)

Creative Tourist


Nine countries show off their talent as five city venues link up for a summer celebration. Helen Nugent in the Guardian

Street life, dazzling dress, social commentary and a riot of sensuous colour interweave in a rich assembly of West African art, writes Charles Gore in the Times Higher Education