This year’s March Independence Day celebrations for Ghana were markedly distinct, with the opening of Gallery 1957, a contemporary art gallery within the lush Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra, Ghana. The gallery’s name is synonymous with the year Ghana gained independence, making its 6th March opening befitting. Marwan Zakhem, the owner and founder of Gallery 1957, a collector and construction business owner began his West African art collection over a decade ago when he moved from London to Senegal. The contemporary art scene in West Africa is highly charged with innovation and new modes of expression that transcend Art – artworks that set up dialogues on Africa’s culture and complex history. There’s a renaissance happening. In Ghana, contemporary art has become synonymous with names like the Chale Wote Festival, ANO, Nima Muhinmanchi Art, El Anatsui, Ibrahim Mahama and Serge Attukwei Clottey, names which have crossed the geographical borders of the country and becoming international.

Marwan Zakehm, an engineer by trade and a board member of Tate’s Africa Acquistion Committee, with a high level of interest in aesthetics, recognizes the uniqueness of African art, particularly West African Art. Gallery 1957 is the evolution of his vision to create a larger international market for artists in Ghana locally and the rest of the African continent. Under the creative directorship of Ghanaian powerhouse and curator, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Gallery 1957 will be gearing up to go beyond the typical “walls” of art institutions to create a reach to a broader audience.