The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Art and Architecture in Northern Ghana

by Fred T. Smith
Kent State University

Figure of a camel on the wall of a Frafra home, northern Ghana. Photo by Fred T. Smith, 1973.


Painted figures are quite uncommon and generally exhibit highly creative and individualistic treatment. One northern Frafra woman, has consistently painted a number of camels and riders on both the exterior and interior walls of her compound. According to the painter, she once traveled to Mali with her father when she was a little girl, saw some camels being ridden, and has been fascinated with them ever since. Although the anatomical features of the camel are vague, the artist does indicate the essential features of the animal and produces a good sense of forward motion.