SOAS University of London

Alumni Engagement

Art and Power: the Ghanaian presidential art collections

Ivor Agyeman-Duah (cultural and literary historian and SOAS alumnus), David MalĂ­k (Senior Teaching Fellow in the Art History of Africa, SOAS).

Date: 23 February 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 23 February 2021Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Lecture


SOAS Ghana Alumni Association is proud to present cultural and literary historian Ivor Agyeman-Duah (MSc Development Studies, 2007), in conversation with David Malik (Senior Teaching Fellow in the Art History of Africa, SOAS).

There is a strong correlation between art and power and in this talk, Ivor Agyeman-Duah will look at the art collection of the former President of Ghana- John Agyekum Kufuor. From a matrilineal household in Kumasi that is connected to the visual and palace art in the ancient imperial Kingdom of Ashanti, Kufuor travelled the world from Oxford into the pantheon of great personages and power. Along the way, whether in villages in Ethiopia or among the Maasai in Kenya, across the Maghreb into Morocco, infatuation with the Persia classical period, Ottoman or Asia Minor’s remains of modern day Turkey, northern Lebanon and parts of Greater Asia, some of these acquisitions came by way of gifts and purchases. They reflect family life and belief, ancient trade relations and routes as well as patterns of contemporary geo-politics. It could be through Benin bronze sculpture with facial stratifications or of metal smelted Malian Islamic crusaders on horseback or a herdsman from a Sahel water well. These works, seventy of which form the basis of this book with few external ones, include resistance art in the fashion of the ‘empire fights back’ against British West African colonial conflict engagements and resultant Independence.


Please register for the event for free on our Eventbrite page


Ivor Agyeman-Duah

Ivor Agyeman-Duah (MSc Development Studies, 2007) is a Development Specialist and the former special advisor on international development co-operation to the Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor. He is a visiting Research Scholar at the University of Johannesburg and author and co-editor of “Pilgrims of the Night: Development Challenges and Opportunities in Africa”, “Africa, A Miner’s Canary into the Twenty-First Century”, “Essays on Economic Governance and An Economic History of Ghana”, “Half a Century of Challenges and Progress”. Agyeman-Duah serves as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa and is a Member of the International Advisory Board of the University of Oxford’s African Studies Centre. He has served as visiting Research Scholar at the Exeter Collage of the University of Oxford and the Hutchins Institute at Harvard University. He holds graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Wales and SOAS.


David Malik 

David Malík is the Senior Teaching Fellow in the Art History of Africa, SOAS. He is an African art researcher, adviser and collector whose long term interest lies in the field of contemporary art and in the long standing art traditions of Western and Central Africa. His research has led him to diverse places such as Freetown, in Sierra Leone, the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation in New York, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, as well as to numerous collaborations with institutions such as the Museum for African Art in New York and the British Museum in London. He is also teaching the African art course at Christie's Education. Aside from his academic work, David specialises in African art photography and his work is featured in various academic and non-academic publications.



This event is run by the SOAS Ghana Alumni Association. Many thanks to them for organising this event. Please email us on if you would like to find out more about joining our Ghana alumni association.

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