Lois Arde-Acquah wins 2020 Kuenyehia Prize

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson
Mr Elikem Kuenyehia, Founder of Kuenyehia Trust, with Ms Lois Arde-Acquah, the award winner
Mr Elikem Kuenyehia, Founder of Kuenyehia Trust, with Ms Lois Arde-Acquah, the award winner

A Ghanaian artist, Ms Lois Arde-Acquah, has emerged the winner of the 2020 Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art.

Ms Arde-Acquah is an artist who sculpts and performs art around the notion of choice and seemingly repetitive activities.

She is also best known for her laborious process of hand-drawing of intricate monochrome patterns.

For her prize, she was presented with a memento and $5,000 at a ceremony in Accra.

A research artist and creative designer, Mr Opoku Mensah, who was the first runner-up, took home a memento and $3,000, while the second runner-up, a Nigerian contemporary artist, Mr Chinwe Chigbu, also received a memento and $2,000.

The Kuenyehia Contemporary Art is a non-profit organisation established to, among others, promote and advance contemporary art, with particular emphasis on those of African origin.


The Founder of the Kuenyehia Trust, Mr Elikem Kuenyehia, commended the awardees for the unique work each of them displayed at the competition.

Elikem Kuenyehia

He said the winner was among more than 266 artists who participated in the competition and said handy works of the participants would increase significantly in value in the near future.

“There is not a single artist who has made it to our shortlist and not seen the value of his or her work appreciate.

That is how we at the Kuenyehia Trust are making a difference.

That is how we are changing lives; changing lives of young talented African artists,” he added.


The founder further observed that many local artists were as good as the best artists anywhere in the world and, therefore, advised Ghanaians to get involved by taking opportunities in the sector to excel in their God-given talents.

He expressed concern that artists were not receiving the needed support, saying: “It is easier to get corporate support for a beauty pageant or a reality show than it is to receive support for the visual arts.”

Guest of honour Prof Bodjawah, Vice-Dean, Dept of Painting and Sculpture, KNUST College of Art and Built Environment

As a result, Mr Kuenyehia said, many young artists in the country were abandoning their craft and rather seeking opportunities in corporate institutions.

“Each of our laurate artists is phenomenally talented. But talent alone is not enough. In an increasingly competitive world, the artists who get ahead are those who, in addition to talent, gain visibility and continue to develop and evolve their practices, and that is where the Kuenyehia Prize comes in,” he said.

Aside from the cash prizes, Mr Kuenyehia said, the foundation would also provide the artists tailored training and coaching to significantly enhance their prospects of success.

Also, he said, they were going to be given visibility through both local and international exhibitions and events.