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Meet the KNUST professor behind the giant statue of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Prof Edwin Kwesi Bodjawah is said to be the brain behind the construction of Otumfuo's statue

Tue, 2 May 2023 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Arguably, Kumasi is the city with the most statues anywhere in the country. This accolade recently got another addition when a statue of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, was unveiled.

Situated at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) the gold-plated statue shows the Asantehene, who is also the Chancellor of the school, in traditional kente cloth, with what appears to be royal jewelry on his arms and wrists.

The statue also captures Otumfuo with a head ornament.

The statue, which exceptionally captures Otumfuo’s facial details, could also be described as an exact duplicate of his image.

Following the unveiling of the statue in March 2023, some people took to social media to heap praises on the man who is said to have been behind the near-perfect work.

Prof. Edwin Kwesi Bodjawah, the Head of the Department of Painting and Sculpture, as well as the Head of the KNUST Museum, has been mentioned as the man.

In a post by Voice of KNUST on March 26, 2023, it named the professor as the man who completed this giant work of the Ashanti king.

GhanaWeb has made an extra effort at knowing who this professor is.

Below is his full profile as extracted from the staff profile section of https://webapps.knust.edu.gh:

Edwin Kwesi Bodjawah (b.1970) grew up in the centre of Accra but he currently lives and practices in the city of Kumasi. He was introduced to commercial cold cast techniques by Francis Nee Kwartei Owoo, a protégé of the once internationally famous pioneer—Giovanni Schoeman, in the early 1990’s while still in art school.


Bodjawah’s early works in this vein depicted genre scenes of the emerging African cities—with traditional African ornament—akin to the typical social realist works of the early postcolonial African canon.

Employing antique-finish cold cast technique for his resin-bronze and multi-metal sculpture, he also worked on a number of private and public sculpture commissions. However, a few years into the 21st Century, his practice would take a radical turn after epiphanic engagements with k?rî?k?chä seid’ou on contemporary art.

With Bodjawah’s new and expanded perspectives into the politics and infrastructure of international sculpture practice and thought, coupled with an enduring interest in African masking traditions, a new space of criticality was opened in his practice.

In his new body of works, he repurposes decommissioned and de-accessioned materials and objects which have intervened in the lives of individuals and communities on the African continent, especially, those mediated through colonial intervention and modern market economies.

Critical to Bodjawah’s current practice is his ritual surfing of the internet to select images of masks that have found their way into museums of the global north and reproducing them serially through a hybrid of artisanal and semi-mechanical means, collaborative manufacture and display.

In recent years, Bodjawah’s work has seen several exhibitions including Spectacles Speculations... (2018, Kumasi) and Silence speaks: Of Blood, Soil and more (2017, Cape Coast), curated by Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh. His publications are in the areas of art history, contemporary art and art education.

Bodjawah is a principal Trustee and Patron of blaxTARLINES, an art incubator and project space affiliated with the KNUST Fine Art Department and Associate Professor in the same Department. He is also the coordinator of the KNUST Museum (Opoku Ware II Museum).

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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