Benjamin Offei-Nyako

Benjamin Offei-Nyako
Senior lecturer, College of Art, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Lecturing: Art, African Art
Host: North Carolina Central University
Scholar in Residence
August 1999-May 2000

"If you have not visited the farm of the other you might always say you are best." These are the words of a Ghanaian proverb that reflect a concept embodied by the Fulbright Scholar Program: exploring the world beyond the familiar broadens perspective and brings wisdom. Benjamin Offei-Nyako, more commonly referred to as BON, remembered this proverb when he accepted a nomination to become a 1999-2000 scholar in residence in the art department at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), a historically black institution in rural North Carolina.

At Offei-Nyako's home institution, the College of Art at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, he is director of the Department of Painting. At NCCU, he taught beginning painting courses and supervised independent study projects. In addition, he conducted research on African icons in African American art. Offei-Nyako felt honored to be in residence at one of the foremost historically black universities in the country. Being at an institution with 90 years of experience in higher education encouraged him to develop ideas for the improvement of art education at his home institution.

 

Two of Offei-Nyako's works, Kaya Yo III
and Akosua.

Offei-Nyako was praised by students and faculty alike for his skill as an instructor and the passion with which he creates art. His paintings focus on women in rural communities who, in his words, "toil day by day, some living on the periphery of poverty, yet going about their daily activities with dignity and pride." For Offei-Nyako, his paintings exhibit a kind of beauty inherent in the simplicity of village life. His work has been admired in solo exhibitions throughout Europe and West Africa since 1976.

During his residence in North Carolina, the scholar exhibited his work at the African Heritage Center in Greensboro in addition to the North Carolina Central University Art Museum in Durham. As a participant in the Fulbright Occasional Lecturer Fund, he lectured on contemporary African art at the North Carolina Museum of Art and North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Winona State University in Minnesota and the Congress of Artists in New Orleans.