August 12, 2013
Fact: you can jump into just about any taxi in Kumasi and ask the driver to take you to Almighty God, and instead of looking at you like you’re a crazy person they’ll gun the engine and head in the direction of the Suame Traffic Circle.
When you get there, you’ll find a large wall of scaffolding displaying remarkable paintings and a sign, in the red, yellow, and green of the Ghanaian flag, that says “Almighty God Artwork.” You may be tempted to take a picture, but don’t do it unless you want to get reprimanded by Almighty God himself, whose open-air studio is in the small parking lot just behind the scaffolding; the artist is fiercely protective of work, and not pleased about photography, which he believes will result in others copying his work. He did, however, agree to pose for the photograph below!
Born Kwamer Akato, Almighty God started out painting the usual chophouse and salon signs that are the bread-and-butter of Kumasi’s many traditional sign painters. Eventually, he ventured into what he calls “creative art” and these days his signs hang in galleries throughout Europe. When we visited, he brought out worn copies of several publications in which he’d been featured, including Ghana, Yesterday and Today, published by the Musée Dapper, and a book written by Italian author Silvana Editoriale entitled—what else?—Almighty God.
Almighty God Works
Images from the Jack Bell Gallery
The subject matter of Almighty’s work tends towards the highly religious. Almighty told us that he spent some time “straying from God’s path” before meeting his wife, Faustina, an evangelist who successfully converted him, and today he’s not only an internationally renowned artist, but also a Pentecostalist preacher.