Africa’s first fully comprehensive visual educational center opens in Accra – Dikan

Dikan, a visual education center has opened in Accra to offer a comprehensive appreciation and education on visual arts for photographers, videographers, and others in the creative industry who want to tell impactful stories. 

The Center boasts of a library stocked with over 30,000 books on photography; galleries for exhibitions; classrooms for learning and development; and photo studios.

Speaking at the opening event in Accra, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Dikan, Paul Ampofo Ninson, said Dikan which means to take the lead in local Twi language is dedicated to providing a deep sense of appreciation and understanding of the contributions and importance of visual education.

“In offering this broad range of support and services towards visual education, we looked at the end-to-end processes and how we could create a better experience. As an example, we established a Story Lab, an interdisciplinary research support that we hope will contribute to exploring immersive storytelling using diverse voices and perspectives,” said Ninson.

Paul, a renowned photographer, and filmmaker who trained at the School of International Center of Photography in New York, said the multiple galleries at Dikan will curate exhibitions on the works of various African and Diaspora photographers while the classrooms will offer accessible workshops and fellowship that advance training of photographers and filmmakers.

During a tour of the facility, he said the extensive collection of books on photography in the library included dedicated shelves on Africa and people of African descents.

In his remarks, the Head of George Padmore Library on African Affairs, Simon Teye, lauded the initiative and urged Dikan and other private libraries to collaborate with the Ghana Library Authority to digitize and offer resources across the continent.

“We can create a digitized union catalogue which would make it possible for all African readers, academics and researchers to access the bibliographies on all the resources available at both the Ghana Library Authority and Dikan Center online,” he stated.

The founder of Humans of New York Blog, Brandon Stanton, who raised funds for the establishment of Dikan, was happy the facility would benefit many including people beyond Ghana.

The former Minister for Education and the Vice-Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, who was the special guest of honour, encouraged Dikan to work with other galleries, African photographers, and subject-experts across the continent to tell Africa’s stories including running a series of exhibitions on things distinctive to Africa.

She commended the Founder, Paul Ninson, for creating an opportunity for young people to train and showcase their creative talents.

“You have given our country something to be proud of. You have provided an opportunity for our youth to train, earn a living and showcase their creative talents”, said Prof. Opoku-Agyemang.

The founder of Dikan, Paul Ninson, conceptualized the idea of a visual education center during his studies at the School of International Center of Photography in New York.

The library started with his private collection. He invested his income and savings in collecting books on photography and filmmaking, hoping to bridge the gap between both the unavailability and inaccessibility of such books in Africa.

The International Center of Photography and the Howard Greenberg Gallery also donated other books.
After years of investing and collecting books in New York and other libraries across the world, Paul returned to Ghana in 2021 to start Dikan.

In the short-term Paul hopes to secure and make other visual instructional materials accessible both online and offline by securing iPads, and laptops at the Dikan library.


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