All started when Benjamin Ansah tried to recreate beauty out of what society was gradually rejecting, something he thought had been lost in the society.
And before trying to recreate that, he was only trying to answer a question he had asked himself about what to do after his undergraduate studies in art. He gradually progressed from that moment of contemplation when he realised that the locally manufactured cast utensil known as “dadesen” was gradually losing its market in the country.
Ansah chanced on his artistic prowess and has manufactured monumental metal fountains out of these aluminium cast utensils.
“I used the aluminium cast utensils because my observation and interaction with producers of the utensils showed that the local utensil market was gradually going down.”
He told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that due to the competition the local utensil had with the flashy and much easy to handle utensils, popularly called the “non-stick”, the locally manufactured utensils were no longer opted for especially in the cities.
Though the utensils were still on the market, they were mostly patronised by the local restaurant operators and households in the village dwellings. People who use these utensils in the cities especially were seen as primitive.
Ansah thought the reason for the fall of the utensil market in the cities would eventually hit the villages as well. He ,therefore, had to recreate something out of it so that the products would still be opted for in the cities, thereby sustaining the market in the cities as well.
Ansah’s artistic life
Ansah will attend art festivals and showcases to gaze on the colourful paintings and other artistic works when he was a child. “I wanted to be like those who painted on the wall anytime I saw them”, he told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interview on October 10, in Accra.
Growing up, Ansah was always in a world of his own, both sketching and colouring cartoons in the Junior Graphic, a brand of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) or listening to classical pieces.
The older he got, the better he came to understand his passion for art and music and further developed them into a more artistic production. “I was very good at drawing when I was in the Koforidua Secondary Technical School and everyone would love to see my work,” he said.
Gaining admission to the department of Integrated Rural Art and Industry in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) was a dream come true.
While in school, he was introduced to wood work, bamboo, leather, ceramics and rattan.
However, the illustrious artistic pieces at the department at the time he was schooling will eventually reflect the kind of beauty he aspired to create and when he started to make his own art work, metals became his primary product instead of his initial fondness to leather and painting.
Few months for him to graduate from school, Ansah’s aesthetic life was greatly influenced with sound and light generated from metals.
“My deep affection to classical romanticism draws me closer to appreciating what nature has to give such as the soothing sound of a waterfall and the beaming sunshine in the early mornings”.
Though he liked leather, he was met with the challenge of entering into the leather making industry which was already populated.
Right after school, he knew he would be an artist but was not sure where he was going to specialise, either leather or metal works.
In the course of his contemplation, an intriguing discovery led Ansah to resolve this conflict by adding his modern twist to the traditional aluminium cast utensil known as “dadesen” by developing them into monumental metal fountains.
His decision to take another dimension in the art industry has made strides. Initially, he made only one sample of the fountains while he was in his undergraduate studies. Upon request from friends for some of the fountains for their offices and homes, and encouragements from his lecturers gave him the spotlight that the industry could be lucrative.
The popular demand of the fountains also influenced him to produce other models and add value to the production which would suit offices and rooms.
“Light, artificial flowers and shiny marbles were used to decorate the fountain to make it more modernise” he told the GRAPHIC BUSINSS how the combination of lights that reflected the metal and shiny marbles unleashed the aesthetic beauty of the fountains.
The production of the metal fountains explored the possible potentials the aluminium cast utensils had aside serving as household cooking utensil.
Irrigo Fountains Company (IFC)
Right after school, Ansah pool resources together and founded the Irrigo Fountains Company which specialises in meatal fountain making.
With the formation of the (IFC), Ansah had been giving young artists a new taste of art through training and empowering them not to just focus on the abstract in the art industry which only gave pleasure but to also look into making art something economical.
He said, “if the production of metal fountains is greatly looked at, the gradually displacing local utensil market could be sustained.”
This will increase the patronage of the utensils, especially when such fountains were in higher demands. It will also serve as employment in the production and retail of the utensils.
The company is also aimed at developing the tourism sector and adding up to the built environment in terms of decorations while sustaining the local aluminium utensil production.