The Gallery of Everything

Asafo Digital Exhibition // The Gallery of Everything

In the 17th century, on the coast of what is now modern-day Ghana, the Fante people developed a distinctive tradition.

They organised themselves into the Asafo: military groups with their own respective numbers, symbols and designs. The flags created by these artists and image-makers commenced an extraordinary visual practice, today considered one of the most vivid and celebratory of 20th century Africa.

These bold works have long inspired artists, curators and designers. Smithsonian director Gus Casely-Hayford and contemporary artist Kerry James Marshall are just two of these notable advocates. Asafo flags reside in the collections of the National Museum of African Art, Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Quai Branly, Paris.