Born to Edward and Adeline Akufo-Addo in Accra, Ghana, in 1947, Marigold Akufo- Addo has been an artist as long as she can remember. At the tender age of four she drew a red truck that caught the inspired attention of her parents. Five years later, she rather impressively composed her first abstract drawing on a scraper board. The sophistication and dexterity exhibited by the young Akufo-Addo was ample proof of her indomitable talent and of what was to come.
In 1964, having graduated a year earlier at Cranbourne Chase School in The United Kingdom, Akufo-Addo took a year out to get more acquainted with the indigenous art of Ghana. She spent that year and the following in the northern region of the country assessing and even participating in mud wall painting. It was an experience that forever changed her philosophy on art. Not only did it significantly add to Akufo- Addo’s appreciation of design, but it also impacted her choice of materials and colors.
Thereafter, Akufo-Addo returned to The UK, where she enrolled at Central School of Art and Design .Thereafter, between 1967 and 1971, she attended the world-renown Slade School of Fine Art (University College London). In between her studies, the nineteen year old Akufo-Addo not only found time to execute her debut, solo exhibition in 1968 at Ghana’s legendary Ambassador Hotel and another at Africa House in London’s Convent Garden, but she also spent two months painting parts of the “Yellow Submarine”.
Returning to Ghana in 1971, Akufo-Addo hit the ground running: She both worked and exhibited at the Ghana Museum for a year and a half. In 1975, she opened the doors to her own art studio-meets-haven – Lamra Gallery. Lamra exemplified Akufo-Addo’s contagiously revolutionary spirit, her innate understanding of the subtle nuances of the very things around us and her distinctly anomalous ability to deconstruct and repurpose cultural text.
In between travelling to and living in Dakar, Senegal and Freetown, Sierra-Leone, with her husband/poet, writer & politician Mukhtarr Cablye Mustapha, Akufo-Addo has two children – Omar-Dubois and Nana Safoa.
While in Freetown during the mid-1970s, Akufo-Addo taught art at the Methodist Girls High School. This experience was particularly dear to her heart as it allowed her to pass on the unique and boundless insight and information she had amassed about the paradigm of art. In 1976, while a teacher, Akufo-Addo exhibited at Freetown’s then premier lodging- The Bintumani Hotel.
It was also in Freetown that Akufo-Addo aggregated her ethos on the purpose of art, specifically African art. Having had the privilege to absorb and marinate different art forms, textures and hues from her travels in West Africa, Akufo-Addo rejected the accepted premise of regional boundaries in art. She instead championed the idea of the creation of a fluid forum that facilitated an unshackled dialogue and interchange of different art forms between related areas.
Akufo-Addo is of the staunch belief that fine art has directives and fuel for future development; she upholds that it is the artist that can delve into the past and harness it with the present to create a vision for the future Returning to Accra in 1979 after her father’s passing, Akufo-Addo divided her time between running the family-owned Ringway Hotel and painting one-offs. After a rare exhibition at the Signature Gallery in the early 1980s, The Daily Graphic duly noted her leading-edge style and aptly deemed Akufo-Addo a “trailblazer”.
Akufo-Addo customarily builds up her canvas in one-tenths of an inch squares. Her medium: oil paint, acrylic, pen and ink – recently mixed media; etchings and lithographs. Most often, her paintings savvily reveal a narrative of changing forms, of enlightenment. Aesthetic alchemy and bliss ensues.
Utility has long been an elemental factor in African Art and Lamra Gallery(which reopened in 1995) utterly embodies this modus operandi. Sans paintings, Lamra produces scarves, plates, bowls, both hand-painted and embossed vases, decorative walls, furniture, wall hangings, et cetera.
Among a motley bevy of endeavors, Akufo-Addo served on the esteemed board ofthe National Commission of Culture from 2003 to 2007. She has recently exhibited at spaces that include the Omanye House and The Museum Parliament House in Cape Town, South Africa.
At present, Akufo-Addo is cultivating Kasa – a monumental art project that is very close to her heart. She’s also due to participate in Presence In Absence – an exhibition at the Dei Center.