Ablade Glover

Ablade Glover

*** Bonhams London names Professor Glover “One of the fathers of Modern African Art.” ***


Professor Ablade Glover was born in Accra, Ghana in 1934. While studying at Kumasi in 1957, his country gained independence from Great Britain. Ghana was the first African country to break away from it’s colonial rulers, setting a precedent at the time. The new government led by Dr. Kwame Nkumah wanted Ghanaians to embrace the local culture of its people, yet at the same time to learn modern western skills. The government encouraged artisans to accept bursaries abroad, in order to learn the skills required, which could then be brought back and passed on to the locals.

Glover, then a student at Kumasi, accepted a scholarship to study textile design at London’s School of Art and Design. On returning to Ghana, the factory where he was to have worked in designing textiles had not been built, so freeing him, after a two-year contract of teaching, to return to England again. In 1964, he accepted a new scholarship personally authorised by Kwame Nkrumah himself, to study at Art Education at the Newcastle University. There after teaching for another period in Ghana, he traveled to the United States to do a Masters degree at Kent State University before moving onto Ohio University, where in 1974 he was awarded a doctorate. On completion he returned to Ghana where for the next 20 years, he taught fulltime at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, eventually rising to become both the Departmental Head and College Dean. On retiring in 1994, Glover began painting full time. His other great goal was to open a gallery and training center in Accra, to showcase emerging artists from the African continent. In 1993 he formed the Artist Alliance Gallery. In 2007, using private funds, he built a large three story building overlooking the oceanfront in Accra, where he moved the gallery and training center to. Glover is passionate about his community and country and strongly believes in giving back the skills he has learnt as an artist and a teacher.

Galleries have represented Glover’s work globally since 1962. There is a wonderful sense of vibrancy and texture to his paintings. He jokes that he has to buy his paint in bulk because of the huge amounts of oil he has to apply on the canvas. His work appeals to all the senses through the use “wet into wet” technique and thick application of paint, which produce a very luscious, intense, result. His works are grouped into the following: ‘Profiles’, ‘The People’, ‘Market’, ‘Social Commentary’, ‘Townscapes’, ‘Forestscapes’, ‘Beachscapes’, ‘Prayerscapes’, ‘Troto Stations’ and ‘Celebrations’. His use of colour is bright and bold. There is also an element of pointillism in his work, where you have to stand back from the scenes, in order for the shapes, tones and colours, to blend into each other. There is a wonderful looseness to his work, which display the confidence of his style and experience as an artist. Professor Glover’s work portrays the energy and intensity of a young man, who in 2014, is celebrating his 80th birthday. When asked where this passion comes from, he says from his first love, his country and the people of Ghana.

His work can be found in both public and private collections worldwide including the Imperial Palace Collection of Japan, the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, amongst others. He has exhibited extensively in West Africa, Europe, the USA and Japan. A recipient of the distinguished AFGRAD Alumni Award by the African-American Institute in New York, he is also a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Art in London.