‘It’s never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad’. Phil Knight.
I believe that there are series of moments in life that are seemingly unconnected but when you look back make up the sum of where you are today. I think about Akatue and how we came into being. I can already start joining the dots.
By 2017 I started to feel this insatiable urge to go back to Ghana. I constantly dreamt of tastes, smells and memories; I read stacks of books by West African authors and I remembered the insane joy I’d felt a few years back in Senegal. I missed my home and I knew the time to go back was fast approaching.
Even in my years away from Ghana the quality of our people’s creativity was never lost on me. Perhaps because in our house there was always a constant reminder of Africa in the paintings and sculptures dotted around, the smell of food, Mum dressed in her smocks, listening to cassette tapes she’d got from Ghana or London. Whenever we pulled out a basket made by Maa to do our hair, Dad would pipe up with a story about the extraordinary ingenuity and craftsmanship that he had witnessed on his travels across Africa.
I always wondered where my love of colours, texture and art came from but looking back on these memories it comes as no surprise I came to be a creative.
I once asked our head weaver Joe how he learnt his skills, he looked me dead in the eyes and said, ‘I didn’t learn this, it’s a gift from god’. At the time I thought he was being histrionic but, it makes sense to me now. Joe puts his all into creating a basket, I understand this because as a tailor I have the same passion about making a suit; you give yourself to each item you make. It’s more than just a basket or a jacket, it’s art and art is life.
Akatue is personal in every sense of the word.
And that’s on who? … Mary Had a Little Lamb