The Studio: Anarchic creativity in Accra

In Accra, as in many cities in Africa, you rely on yourself and your own creativity.

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Ghana’s coastal capital is fast becoming the coolest place on the continent. Accra is a chaotic mix of old and new: boutique hotels and shantytowns, Chinese imports and local design. Street stalls with dresses, shirts and backpacks made from bright Kente fabrics line the streets in the trendy area of Osu and the contemporary art and design scene is growing fast, thanks in part to the annual Chale Wote festival, which takes place in August, and to The Studio Accra

In Ghana they have a word for the regular power outages: “dumsor” (a combination of two words in the local Akan language that literally translates to “on-off”). It describes the constant inconsistency of electricity supply. The hum of generators is part of the soundtrack of the city. The effect of dumsor in Accra is palpable: you can’t rely on anything that you don’t create yourself. The city has its own particular anarchic energy. 

Founded by partner-in-crime creatives photographer Francis Kokoroko and stylist Daniel Quist, The Studio Accra hosts events from music to spoken word poetry, film screenings, exhibitions and pop ups. Quist and Kokoroko are also the curators of an Instagram account and digital store called Finders Keepers Outfits (@finderskeepersoutfits), which is a collection of the dopest discoveries from Accra’s thrift markets. 

Both Quist and Kokoroko have a unique sense of personal style, believing that clothes are an extension of character. Their good friend fashion DJ Steloo is also one of the city’s most notable cool cats. 

“I don’t think we actually come out to say we want to set a trend,” says Kokoroko. “We are easily bored, so we are always pushing ourselves to be creative. With photography, with fashion, with whatever we do – we try to do what’s different.”