After living in the United States for 17 years and raising three boys with his beloved wife, Nanasei Agyemang decided to go back to his hometown of Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region of Ghana to help local artisans design and weave colorful and artistic baskets to sell in America. His family-run business focuses on reducing poverty and promoting environmentally sustainable business practices. Through his efforts, he generates a major source of income for the community, which helps provide people there with housing, food, water, and healthcare.
Bolga baskets are handwoven from durable, naturally dyed elephant grass. The grass is harvested and split by hand. Weavers work with water to soften the grass and create different shapes and styles of baskets. Both sturdy utilitarian containers and eye-popping works of art, Bolga baskets come in a variety of bright colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes. Some of the most intriguing Bolga baskets have organic forms that seem to bend in and out of shape like a pliable ceramic pot that has been gently twisted while still wet. They are adorned with woven stripes, zigzags, color blocks, and triangles, and come in a variety of colors from natural tans to brilliant fuchsia, orange, and indigo.
While the ongoing global pandemic has made travel to and from Africa difficult, Nanasei Agyemang’s connections between his two homes makes it possible to bring beautiful, colorful, traditional Ghanaian baskets hand-crafted by the talented artisans of Bolgatanga to the 2022 International Folk Art Market.