Mellon Diversifying the Field

Exploring Modern African Art

A Chrysler Museum of Art and
Hampton University Museum Partnership

Emmanuel Owusu Dartey

Emmanuel Owusu Dartey

Emmanuel Owusu Dartey (1927-2018) was born in Mamfe, Akwapim, Ghana. He studied advanced art at Kwame Nkrumah University from 1961 to 1962 and studied painting and art teaching methods at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1963 to 1964. Dartey was the head of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ashanti, Ghana. His paintings have been exhibited in numerous locations such as the Cultural Center in Kumasi and more recently at the Faie Afrikan Art Gallery, located in Chicago. He was a member of the Akwapim Six, one of the earliest art societies in Ghana.  

A Market Day

Emmanuel Owusu Dartey (Ghanaian, 1927-2018), A Market Day, mid-20th century. Oil on canvas, 43 1/4 x 37 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. Hampton University Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 67.128. Photo: Alexander’s Photography.

A Market Day depicts a woman in a purple printed top and skirt that is swirling with green and red. She holds a multi-colored basket on her head. Next to her is a young girl with an orange top and skirt holding a dark-colored container on her head. Both appear to be on a dirt path surrounded by trees and other vibrant green vegetation. What is beautiful about this piece is that no object is one color. From the vegetation to the clothing, Dartey uses multiple colors to capture this rich scene. Even the brown skin tones of the woman and girl are infused with warm and cool colors.