ARTS CENTER in Accra

Arts & crafts in Accra

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AFRICAN ARTS AND CRAFT in Accra, Ghana

West Africa is rich in arts & crafts, and you can see this art in Ghana, in Accra, the capital.
Art for real fullfilment and love does not traditionally exist in Africa : everything that was crafted had some purpose behind it.

In Ghana, you can find beautiful hand woven textiles, old and new beads, brass works, gold jewelry, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, and wood carvings.

ARTS CENTER  is not the only place to buy regional art, but where that sale takes place depends on what kind of story you want to tell about the purchase. ARTS CENTER, TETTEH QUARSHIE ART MARKET near Airport area., village Markets, Wild Gecko (a shop mostly dedicated to expats), Global Mamas (clothes shop in OSU) are the places to find it.

ARTS CENTER

The Centre for National Arts and Culture, popularly known as Arts Centre, is located next to the Kwame Nkrumah Musoleum, off the High Street in Accra. The center became very popular in the 80’s for its leisure and entertainment.

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Arts Centre is a wonderful maze of more than 100 stalls which have all a number on the top of their roof for te ones outside.

When my car’s door opened, handshakes and a hearty welcome to the Accra welcomed me in Arts Center.

However,  it does not look like very nice, big, orderly building…. Rather, it is a crowded collection of vendor stalls who will do anything to invite you to come and see their products: joke, sing, tug at sleeves… from your car parking.

TIPS TO HAVE A GOOD SHOPPING EXPERIENCE 

Visiting the Arts center may be an exciting experience for tourists who are not used to the aggressive but thrilling negociation process … Hawkers attack from all sides as soon as you arrive, but if you’re not exhausted by the scrum you can find cheap and nice gift to buy!

A tips : if you say nothing, theses vendors will  take you to their stall unless you asked them nicely several times. So try to be hard when saying NO because after that you will have one then 2, and 3,4,5 vendors following you saying “Please, sister, have a look at my shop!” !!

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Tourists equal big money and for market sellers, this competition for foreign dough can easily turn into shouting matches about somebody’s mama. Most of all, they sell the same products among craf staf, jewelry, fabrics…

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Personnaly, I have been there several times there ewith friends and last time (for this article) I had Thomas, my driver. He came inside the Arts Center with me who was especially helpful in negotiating with me in their local language and also to take me pictures while looking to crafts product and negociating too:)

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We walked along the “building,” which is really a cluster of stalls, towards the back, past old men leaning on scraggly wooden canes and bored children sitting in the dirt, glancing our way with feigned interest.

All kinds of handicrafts imaginable may be found in this market.

The items range from wood carvings, traditional musical instruments, cane and raffia products, leather ware, gold, silver and bronze jewelry, beads, clay products, antiques, paintings to ivory products, and many more.

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These items are brought to the markets from various parts of the country and also from other countries within the West African sub-region including, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Senegal and Nigeria.

The arts and craft market provides employment opportunities for many people. Skills have been developed in carving, painting, designing, metal works to service the market.

The buyers are made up of those purchasing a few items to customers who place orders for large quantities of various products. A lot of buyers are tourists and other foreigners visiting Ghana.

CRAFTS CHEAP PRICES

I already bought many craft things for my family, friends and ourselves.

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For exemple, I bought a “Chief Chair” for less than  400 GHC (100€) in a beautiful wood.

You can negociate a lot because they have the same products in different stalls and also you will n ot find many other tourist in the market!

 

For a salad tongs you will pay 5€, for a small elephant (6 cm) 8 €, I also bought a table for 10€ and a big giraf cost 75 €.

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These african comb or stick cost me 4 € each.

All this is very well made and is cheap I think.

BUYERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD

Art center is in fact one of the most important tourist attraction sites in the City of Accra and in Ghana. For this reason, some international famous people visiting Ghana for  official assignments are taken to the market to see and perhaps buy some of the crafts on display. These customers spend hundreds of thousands of cedis including foreign exchange at the place.

Because the craft market is very old and there’s been no investment in infrastructure, the structures housing the exhibits are very dilapidated. It is expected the safety and comfort of visitors would be better guaranteed when the rehabilitation and expansion takes place. The multi million dollar project would include the construction of market stalls, workshops, storerooms, restaurants, communication centers, show rooms and modern places of convenience. The Greater Accra Handicraft Dealers Association was formed in 1994.

Visitors at the market told that the market is very popular in Europe and America because of the variety and quality of the handicrafts available. Some of them said the items that they purchase are sent home as gifts for their loved ones and relations while others explained that they buy and resell in America and Europe.

HOPE YOU ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

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AND THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO DISCOVER THIS TYPICAL ARTS CENTER IN ACCRA !

Shops and food prices in Accra

When you arrive in a new country, you have to find out the shops according to what you want to eat and above all depending on the money you want to spend for it!

Starting eating local food? Go on eating western meals?

There are several types of shops and places to go for it and of course big differences in prices…

  • AT ROUNDABOUT OR TRAFFIC LIGHT

Ghanaian are walking next to traffic light where cars stop with fruits, chips, water, bread but also electronic, telephone card, even paintings!! in order to sell it. They mostly carry it above their head which is particular from Africa!

We really wonder how they manage to carry such heavy things on their head!! Their prices are quite low and you can negociate.

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Mobile recharge salesmen in Accra on the road

Unfortunately, it is not allowed by ghanaian government (except for telephone card because it’s their job for a mobile company).

I saw police coming and running after them in order to take all their goods so that they can’t sell it anymore. It is really difficult as my driver told me, because these ghanaians have nothing and only try to eat everyday with selling this type of product.  I was really angry and found it incomprehensible.

  • SHOPS IN STREETS

Ghanaian who can afford it have small shops (one room) where they sell vegetable, fruits and other things to eat. Their prices are quite low to and you can sometimes negociate. Moreover, I think it’s better to keep Ghanaian their business going than making the rich distribution group richer……….

  • MARKET SUCH AS MAKOLA OR MADINA MARKET

 

In these typical and dynamic markets, it is always very hot, noisy and crowded! The smell is sometimes very awful because of dried fishes… Bands play music. You will find food (big snails also!!)

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Snails in Makola market

, kithenware, fabrics, shoes, jewels, beads…….. and you can negociate prices of course! It is both in open air and in old buildings all around. There is a parking too.

 

You should not take photo. I tried one day but they wre angry about that.I will be better to enjoy the flow and enjoy and speak to them with smile. – a colourful open-air department store spread over several blocks.

  • SUPERMARKETS

palace supermarket accraKoala is a lebanese supermaket (in both Aiport or Osu area) where you can find easily food from everywhere and freezing things too. Prices are high but there is a free card with 5 % discount. It also offers you basic foodstuffs, bakery (french bread for 3,5 GHC). The Koala in Osu is bigger than in airport.

Palace is also a bigger supermaket on spintex road.

  • BAKERY FOR FRENCHIES!

Bread and Wine bakery and Delicatessen is located in OSU. It imports all his equipment and grain from France ! Bread and patisserie is baked each day and you will be like in France with your French baguettes your  brioche, raisin bread… There is also very expensive french cheese, pizzas…  I really like the outdoor and indoor setting . What’s more it is simple with nice classy decoration and you can rest easily next to the swimming pool since it is not noisy. Waiters are great and the strawberry cheesecake is heavenly !

D Café is also delivering good french bread and bakery in Airport next to Koala supermarket. One baguete is about 7 GHC so 2 times more than in France! Many expatriates and business man take a sit to drink coffee and eat a french croissant outside but it’s in front of the road so quite noisy…

  • MALLS

There are several malls where you can find supermarkets, pharmacy, electronic and phone shop, clothes shops, beauty shop, cinema…

It is Marina Mall in airport side, Accra Mall in Spintex road,  Maxt Mart 37 in Liberation Road and in East Legon, AC Mall in East Legon…

Marina Mall (airport area)

The newest and most popular shopping centre in Ghana is Marina Mall (in Airport). The supermarket in on the ground floor selling many expensive foreign goods but also good and cheap meat, fresh fishes and Deli counter. There are three floors of shops (expansive clothes, watches, computers, pharmacy), and a food court (KFC, DeliFrance). Well known french brands such as Benetton, Clarins, and Façonnable are here too.  You can also find to take you ID photos on the 3rd floor.

Accra Mall (Spintex road)

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Game supermarket in Accra Mall

In this mall there are clothing boutiques (african fabrics such as Woodin and Vlisco, or famous brands like Levis, Puma, Swatch). Shoprite is a food shop and Game has food, electronic,  fitness and cooking equipment, but also tools, bedroom, kids and bathroom staff…. You can have lunch in a fastfood or restaurant there). On the first floor,  book and music store are next to the cinema, showing current blockbusters, Nollywood and Ghanaian films.

Concerning Shoprite, it  is Africa’s largest food retailer and has a  wide selection of foods including imported meats from South Africa. There’s also a deli counter, and large selections of wines as well as household goods. Prices are cheaper compared to Marina Mall and Maxmart.

A&C MALL (East Legon area) 

You will find  A&C Square offering clothing shops (Woodin), coffee shops, entertainment ( a modern health club), Vodafone, food retailer,  and also health clinics and a vegetable/fruit ghanain shop next to a children’s play area.

Maxt Mart 37 (in Liberation road)

This three-storey supermarket has a good bakery and a large deli counter (with cold meats, cheeses). On the 1st floor, there are brands such as Clarins, Mont Blanc and Lancel ! On the second floor, there is a large selection of homeware such as bedding, glassware, candles and picture frames.

 

  • PRICES:

Now, lets see the prices of goods in Malls or supermarkets.

Some products are coming from South Africa such as meat. It is  really a good one and it’s very cheap! It is abour 30 GHC for 1kg of steak! So inviting friends for big barbecues here are cheap !! 🙂

Local fishes are also very good and is not expensive.

Chicken is known to come from Bresil and people say it is not good one but personnaly, I eat chicken very often and I never got sick ( 30GHC for 1kg)!

On the other hand, fresh vegetables are more expensive. For tomatoes, you will have to pay 6 GHC for 6 very small ones. A small salad (for only 2 people) is about 3,5 GHC. Some are only available frozen such as beans, broccolis and spinach (25GHC for 500g) and it’s very difficult to find. There are often out of stock…so when there are available, you buy a lot to fill your freezer!

Yogurt are really unaffordable in my view : one solutionis to make it home! Many expat women bought a yogurt maker (as I did) and it’s very easy and quick to do!

500g pasta are about 10 GHC.

Chocolates (often delivered by the industrial Leader Price) is about 15 to 25 GHC for 100g…

Cheese (french always eat that!) do not come cheap neither : at least 100 GHC for 1kg.

Wines are also expensive and moreover the quality is quite bad for not saying very bad… The less expensive one is about 15 GHC (for cooking one). Mostly it is around 40 GHC the first level.

So be prepared to get used to life here or bring back products from France ! (I never had problem at the airport, even if my suitcase was smelling like feet!!!!

Here, you will see that women expat buy their food in different shops because prices are sometimes twice more from one to the other and some products have a better quality too. It makes shopping a bit complicated but you know women expat have time.

  • Recommended Minimum Amount of Money for food (Western food types)

For two people we spend about 3000 GHC eating western food (with cheese, bacon, ham… which are expensive). Underneath, you can see the prices for each basic product to make your own average.

Milk (regular), (0.25 liter) 0.61 €
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (125.00 g) 0.52 €
Rice (white), (0.10 kg) 0.38 €
Eggs (2.40) 0.46 €
Local Cheese (0.10 kg) 1.57 €
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (0.15 kg) 1.13 €
Beef Round (0.15 kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 0.91 €
Apples (0.30 kg) 0.87 €
Banana (0.25 kg) 0.51 €
Oranges (0.30 kg) 0.72 €
Tomato (0.20 kg) 0.47 €
Potato (0.20 kg) 0.56 €
Onion (0.10 kg) 0.28 €
Lettuce (0.20 head) 0.37 €
Daily  minimum amount of money for food per person eating at home 9.35 € (40 GHC)
Monthly recommended minimum amount of money for food per person
(assuming 31 days per month)
289.80 € (1200 GHC)