The biggest photography library in Africa opened last week in Ghana’s capital city Accra. The Dikan Gallery houses more than 30,000 books, a photo studio, an exhibition space and a classroom for creative workshops.
The newly opened and first-of-its-kind centres has been created by Mr Paul Ampofo Ninson, a self-taught Ghanaian documentary photographer and filmmaker, who started collecting artistic items years ago. “I started buying African photo books, with the idea of sharing them with young photographers back home, but as my collection grew, it dawned on me that I could create a library dedicated to photography and visual education, so I started reaching out to booksellers for donations. I also received donations from private galleries and collectors,” says Ninson.
The library, named Dikan Center, which means ‘take the lead’ in Akan, a Ghanaian language, honours pioneering Black photographers and the heritage of West Africa while also providing inspiration and resources to emerging photographers.
“We are determined never to leave behind any person, idea, history, culture, concept and facility necessary in re-imagining and firming the place of visual education in building a modernised African economy – If you know and have knowledge, see and/or hear, you are a storyteller Dikan will find you” said the curator in his opening speech. “Millions on the continent are surviving below the poverty line and our youth are desperate for new opportunities, we cannot fail them” he added.
The official opening took place on December 16, with a photo exhibition “Ahennie”, by Emmanuel Bobbie and Paul Ninson, that will run through until January 10, 2023 and an inspirational storytelling session by Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton, called “Stories for good”.