Although fashion production is the core business at our production hubs, art is never very far away. Artists like the talented Ghanaian Papa Oppong are commissioned to paint murals that not only represent the work created, the designer partnerships and the interconnectivity between the hubs but also brighten up the space for the workers.
Papa Oppong Bediako, seen working above on a mural in the Accra hub of ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative with fellow artist Peter Caitoe is a fashion designer, illustrator and artist from Ghana in West Africa. Born in Accra, Ghana’s sprawling capital city, Papa attended Alpha Beta Montessori School before attending a series of schools where he eventually discovered a passion for visual art and fashion. He is currently pursuing a fashion degree at Radford University and designing as part of the Radford Collective (see following story). The young man from Accra’s talents have not gone unnoticed either; in 2012, Papa Oppong placed third in an international art contest oraganized by twin eyewear designers Coco & Breezy. His fabulous illustrations (see following pages) have been featured in the UK-based illustration magazine Dash Magazine. Last year that famous Child of Destiny herself, Kelly Rowland came across a digital painting that Papa had made of her and loved it so much she went on to share it with her millions of fans worldwide via her social media networks. Perhaps it is his attitude toward the celebration of difference and the oddities of life that come through in his work. In his art and core creativity he is inspired by things that wouldn’t necessarily inspire the average person; death, decay and fear for example. Equally, he is inspired by pop culture, stars like Rhianna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey and he credits fashion designers like Stephane Rolland, Viktor & Rolf and Alexander McQueen as major influences. In short, Papa Oppong represents a part of our future, an artist and designer with serious talent and vision who, like many working in the burgeoning African fashion and arts industries, is ready to bring his talent to the world.
Opposite (above): Not Charity, just Papa at work. Opposite (below) and this page: Papa Oppong fashion illustrations
Above (left): Papa Oppong and Peter Caitoe working on the mural for the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s Hub in Accra, Ghana. Above (right): A designer and talented fashion illustrator, Papa was the man behind the artwork for the ITC EFI mural in Accra. Photos: Papa Oppong Opposite (above right): Designer Stella Jean, Talent Scout Simonetta Gianfelici and EFI’s Simone Cipriani posing in front of the ITC EFI Nairobi Hub mural. Photo: Louis Nderi Opposite (below right): Papa Oppong working from his desk at the Radford College of Fashion in Accra Photo: Ofoe Amegavie