Angelina Oduro: the “Akwaaba girl” who smiles at you in your homes and offices

The woman behind the popular “Akwaaba” portrait, Angelina Nana Akua Oduro, shares her story about the genesis of the picture

Angelina Nana Akua Oduro, the beautiful woman behind the iconic “Akwaaba” photo, has revealed that a painting she saw as a child inspired the now viral photo.

She said when she was younger, there was a drinking pub where her family lived around Kaneshie Dance Bar, a suburb of Accra, adding “the pub’s owner had a painting of a woman in beads, holding a calabash and pouring palm wine.”

Oduro continued that anytime she got to the pub while running errands for her mom, she’ll “just look at the woman and I’ll say, I’ll grow up to be like you… It was like she was looking at me; she was looking straight into my eyes.”

“And sometimes when I get there, I’ll look at her and smile, as if I’m communicating with her,” she said.

She told Asaase Radio, in an interview that, she so admired this painting of the woman displayed on

the pub that she asked a photographer friend to help her create a picture replica of it “when I (she) came of age.”

“Let’s just sell it”

Angelina further revealed that the photo was a personal one which she originally, meant “to put… in my hall.”

But when the picture was ready, her photographer friend told her that “people were admiring it and so let’s just sell it.”

She stated that the photographer put the “Akwaaba” inscription on the picture and “at the beginning… people started patronising it little by little, and within some few weeks and months it just went viral.”

The “Akwaaba” photo has since become one of the most iconic emblems of Ghanaian culture. It graces the walls of several homes, offices and also arts and craft centers, both home and abroad welcoming, like “Akwaaba” translates in Twi, visitors and tourists alike.

Meanwhile, Oduro says she lost a contract with the GLO telecommunication company when they first set up in Ghana because her manager friend asked her to tell them, she has been “paid off” when the company contacted her about using her photo.

Watch the video here:

Nana Abena Boakye-Boateng

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995

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