Long ago, in the pre-COVID days (sigh), Osei-Duro (in the form of me, Molly) paid a visit one morning to the studio of the Ghanaian artist, our friend, Nana Danso. Amidst talk of crystals and mythology and maybe a little trading of various ornamental seedlings (plant nerds unite), the idea of a collaborative print was born. We messed around with some test yardage, experimenting with hand painting over top of laser printed images which was a new and exciting technique for all involved. And then 2020 happened, and the project sat dormant for, well, several years now.
Fast forward to 2022 and not only is Osei-Duro much better resourced to resume this type of what we broadly label Special Project, Nana Danso is also seriously on a roll . All to say, the time is ripe! We are delighted to introduce to you a limited edition run of just a few styles, using the super maximalist print Nana designed. Nana Danso x OD is a bright tight capsule collection of tops and accessories, plus one wrap mini skirt. Fabrics include a slick silk charmeuse, our classic breezy light rayons, as well as a versatile wash and wear cotton. All fabrics are laser printed here in Accra with Nana’s drawn images, and then hand painted over top by our Batikers. We did not make more than 10 of any one item, so stock is very, very limited.
Here’s how Accra Gallery 1957 describes Nana’s work:
Nana Danso Awuah-Asante best known as Artsoul Kojo, is a Ghanaian contemporary artist whose art has gained recognition through his endless cast of characters and personalities; these address a broad spectrum of universal and existential philosophies with a childlike appeal. Their childlike strokes and elementary shapes recall the simple yet complex imaginations of the human psyche, laying bare the limitless possibilities of how one can perceive the world. ArtSoul Kojo is a self-taught artist who began painting and creating art extensively as an outlet for coping with anything. As art depicts life, Nana Danso's symbolism portrays the reaction between the world and them. Their work fuses aspects of storytelling, and poetry combined with an impressionist and pop-art visual look.
And some questions answered by the artist:
What is your relationship with Osei Duro?
Osei-Duro is family.
What’s your favorite Osei-Duro piece in your wardrobe and why?
I have the mask which Molly gave me as a gift 😊. I wore it mostly in Paris and got a lot of compliments but unfortunately I lost it at some point. Aside from the mask I like the pants and other items my friend Steloo wears from the collab he did with Osei-Duro a while ago.
How do you style your Osei-Duro pieces?
I like to style my Osei-Duro pieces as a hint of color to my mostly dark toned wears. I like that blend of color with the darker tones.
What do you do? How did you get started?
I am an artist! My studio, ArtSoul Kojo is excited about working with stories that preserve philosophical ideas, culture, and heritage in communities across the world, with our main focus currently on Ghana and Africa as a whole.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on putting together a documentary about African communities and their stories. This focuses more on the use of new forms of preservation and documentation of history.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in all things, I like to live my process so most of my days are spent experiencing all that the day has to offer and then I translate that into my art.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up and I meditate. Sometimes I just sit down regurgitating dreams, then exercise and straight to work. I live where I work so it's very easy to sink in and out of work and then later parts of my day are spent with family and friends or anything interesting I feel like gravitating towards. Oh and I enjoy cooking in between hours sometimes.
Describe your perfect day off.
A perfect day off starts with rain and sleep, a massage and more sleep and then reading.
What advice do you have to offer someone who is just starting out?
My advice for a starter is to stay consistent and you shall level up. Everything is a cycle of stages, starting is just the beginning of an experience or journey. Enjoy and live.
How does the city you live in influence your creativity?
I live in Accra and it's a very expansive city full of opportunities. I like how it gives you energy but drains it sometimes when you don’t manage it properly. I feel like that's how I experience my art making process too.
What are the top 3 places we should check out in your city?
When you come to Accra, find ArtSoul Kojo Studio, go to the Labadi beach and make sure to visit Makola market as well.
Recommend something to us!
I would recommend a book by Kwame Gyekye “African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme”. I find his analysis of the use of specific traditional modes of thought to develop African philosophy to be very interesting and read worthy.
Follow Nana on IG: @_nanadanso_
And check this video interview B2TR did with Nana: