Fine art doesn’t tickle my curiosity so much, especially because of my presumption that its practitioners overly complicate the simplest of things. More so a practitioner like Selorm Kojoe Fiadjoe, who embellishes the art with NFTs and other neo-technologies.
It was surprising when Selorm reached out after reading the Melange Africa article which named him as one of the top African creatives spotted at the just-ended Grammy’s in the United States.
Combining this surprise with my frustration with fine art puts me in a tight position. But for the first time, I am excited to get into the backend of things in the fine art world, especially when he suggested on our first encounter that ‘gallerist’ serves him better than the blanket artist tag thrown at him. Now he has my undivided attention and I am more than ready to roll out this conversation.
Selorm Fiadjoe, nicknamed SKEP is an interesting personality and someone you can have a nonstop conversation with, not just about art but about everything and anything. Plot twist: he did not start his journey as an art person but drawing inspiration from creative people he interacted with drove him closer to his passion for art.
He was born into an agricultural family and studied General Arts at St. Peter’s Senior High School, furthering his education at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where he studied Economics and Geography.
After school, Selorm worked with a couple of Ghanaian artists including Mr. Eazi, owing to his work with several creative agencies, which helped him build a reputation for himself and his network within the art circle. And his artsy crazy rise through the ranks showcasing on international platforms, tells you how much work and determination he attends to his accidentally found craft.
Melange: Tell us about how you became a gallerist.
Selorm: I realized that the actual calling was to work with artists, like people who make art and crafts, so when the call came I moved away from musicians and started interacting more with some incredible Ghanaian artists who were close to me to learn and find out what inspires them and that’s how the journey started.
Melange: What would you say is your inspiration to create?
Selorm: Well I think art is in nature and I am at peace the most when I am in nature like the beach. My team and the Ghanaian culture, from our food to clothing and everything else also inspire me in many ways.
Melange: What is one word that best describes you and your work?
Selorm: I think I am a daring person, I like to push beyond the envelope, so I don’t take no for an answer. I will describe my work as intriguing because a lot of people have not seen anything like this before and you get to experience it in a different way than you would usually experience art anywhere else.
Melange: Why do you think people fall in love with your art pieces and tell us about the people you have created pieces for.
Selorm: People fall in love with our art pieces because of their uniqueness, the details, how features are captured, and the fact that whenever people come in contact with them we are there to interact and answer all their art-related questions.
I think people also like the fact that we use art to clean the planet since we create pieces from recycled plastic. We have created pieces for Bozoma Saint. John and her family, the recently held Global Citizen in Ghana, Chance the Rapper and his family, Jack Dorsey, Rihanna, and the logo of Harvard University.
Melange: I know every piece made by you means so much but let us know your favorite artwork and why?
Selorm: This would be hard to answer but I think for now it would be the Rihanna artwork before that, it was the Global Citizen artwork because of its exceptional backstory but I think the Rihanna artwork has an equally significant story, and sentimental value because there is a frame for the artwork made out of her recycled cosmetic products, Fenty. Interestingly people think they have the Rihanna art piece figured out but there is more coming.
Melange: Tell us about the artwork for Global Citizen and its backstory.
Selorm: My team and I were inspired by the idea of seeing amazing performers not just from Africa but across the world performing in Ghana for a cause we also believe in, so we decided to honor Global Citizen with our Global Unity Embroidery artwork which was signed by many people and left a lot of people in awe. We did embroidery instead of painting because we believe that thread is the fiber that holds us together as African people and when you take a look at the piece, you will realize the images are arranged in a “U” form which stands for unity.
Melange: Do you think Ghana has become a hotbed of art?
Selorm: I think Ghana has become a hotbed for tourism and tourism involves art. However, it needs to be better packaged and marketed to the world in such a way that in the end, Ghana gets to benefit from it. Ghana has a vibrant art scene with so many amazing artists.
Melange: Which emerging artists do you admire? – Do you have any?
Selorm: To be honest right now on the African scene I would say Boubou Design because he is one of the most creative artists I have seen, I am looking forward to working with him. In Ghana, I would say my two friends, Essiful who does recycled plastic art, and Micheal who does embroidery, I believe they are on the rise and are about to kill it in the Ghanaian art scene.
According to Selorm, the African art scene has always shown significant promise on the world stage. However, artists creating in silos and not leveraging new ways to improve the art experience have always proven to be hindrances to the deserved strides of Ghana’s art scene.
This is why he decided to found ENA Art, an outfit creating beautiful moments and masterful pieces by combining tufting, weaving, and raw creativity to create polished, colorful, and intriguing images to celebrate African creativity.
“ENA means “God Gives” in Ewe and also stands for Embroidery NFT Art. Aside from the business side, sustainability and collaboration were two of the many reasons he started the company”Selorm Kodjoe Fiadjoe
The gallerist putting Ghana on the map believes that the African art scene stands to gain a lot on the global stage if artists collaborate more – a principle to which his success in the past few months is a testament.
Thelma Quainoo is my name, and my pen name is Miss Anowaa. My zodiac sign is Aries, and that alone will tell you I am a bubbly soul. A writer and an aspiring public relations practitioner. Find me on IG as @miss_anowaa. #beyouloveyou