Mel Arthur is a contemporary Ghanaian photographer exploring the essence of fashion in the lives of his people.
His photography exhibition called “Nyɜ Kɛ Wɔ” is his debut as a solo artist.
“Nyɜ Kɛ Wɔ” in the local Ga dialect in Ghana means ‘Yesterday and tomorrow’ and that is his native tongue.
Arthur seeks to juxtaposes the relationship between the 90’s, 2000’s fashion trends and modern era.
Taking inspiration from the women in his family who raised him the exhibition showcases his specialty as an artist who documents youth culture and the themes that influences it.
Growing up and watching these women dress-up to various social events had a lasting impression on him as an artist.
He uses the medium of photography to recreate some of their iconic looks which gives a sense of nostalgia to the observer.
“My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother were the people I looked up to while growing up and their style fascinated my young mind a lot. Interestingly, I borrowed their clothes to construct the new identities you’ll be seeing,” Mel said.
Other major influences include the late Suzzy Williams, a Marilyn Monroe-sque Ghanaian actress who was not afraid to express herself through fashion, sultry and sassy Ghanaian musician Mzbel and other male pop-stars.
He captures today’s fashion which is heavily influenced by 2-Pac, P-Diddy and ‘Returnee’ uncles from Hamburg and the Bronx who wore baggy clothing, knock-off jewelry and beanie hats with swag and panache.
“Basically the whole exhibition is to highlight the old fashion trends of our parents and how we are as a new generation is carrying on the baton unknowingly.
Our style is more accessorized to meet modern tastes but the foundation of our aesthetics is borrowed heavily from the adults in our life. In short, we are our parent’s children” he points out.