The Biggest Photo Library In Africa Just Opened Up In Ghana

The Biggest Photo Library In Africa Just Opened Up In Ghana
Photo by Patrick AVENTURIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Biblical And Archaeological School Of Jerusalem On March 1, 2004 In Jerusalem, Israel. Prints And Plates Dating Back To The Turn Of The 20Th Century.

Africa's largest photography library just opened up in Ghana's capital of Accra.

The largest photography library in Africa has opened in Accra, Ghana. The library, also dubbed "Dikan Gallery," highlights the creativity of some of the most gifted artisans on the continent, as well as other vintage artists who created art years ago.

The center was founded by Paul Ninson, a Ghanaian photographer and film-maker. Dikan Center, is described as Africa's premium art curator, and the first of its kind in Ghana. Currently, the Gallery houses over 30,000 books sourced by Ninson, who started collecting artistic items years ago. The space contains a photo studio and classrooms to provide access to artistic workshops, as well as an exhibition space that will host regular shows.

According to The Guardian, Ninson began to nurture the idea of a photo gallery, and collecting photography books while he was still in the School of the International Center of Photography in New York. He told The Guardian that at first, he collected photos as a way to share ideas with other photographers in Ghana, but as his collection grew, he realized that the idea had the potential to expand and become something much more impactful.

“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,” Ninson said.

West Africa's history with photography is far-reaching. Artists like Seydou Keïta, Malick Sidibé, and Ghana's James Barnor, to name a few, all crafted out careers for themselves by exploring photography in a way that was both evocative and meaningful, and Ninson is continuing in those footsteps.

Dikan, which means “take the lead” in Ghana's Asante, is Ninson's attempt at celebrating the rich cultural and historical accomplishments of many African artists, both known and unknown, who have made their mark in some way through photographs. Ninson also wants to use the photo hub as a way to inspire up-and-coming African photographers who also want to leave their mark.