"The Eghaghas never forget where they come from or the country which has nurtured them to be what they are."
Omotigho Eghagha was born in 1941 at Mereje Town in Nigeria. Though without any basic education in the field, he still loved art and tasked himself to sculpt and produce raffia works for local religious ceremonies. Omotigho is also married to the renowned Ghanaian artist, Akua Banchi Eghagha. Born in 1938, Akua was immersed in the world of handicrafts before she switched over to developing batiks. She eventually used her expertise as a teacher, encouraging her husband to more seriously develop his artistic skills. This yielded positive results and Omotigho, in collaboration with his wife, has been producing beautiful batik wall hangings, table cloths and napkins since then.
Both have participated in most fairs, individually and as a couple. In 1974, the couple held their first successful exhibition at the Arts Center in Accra. In 1975, Akua exhibited her works at the Afro Centrum Agysimba in Berlin, Germany.
According to Omotigho, his work reflects the true African spirit. He dwells on such themes to give joy and happiness to lovers of art. Art, he says, should be understood and lived with. Akua says she likes portraying everyday life's activities. She also believes in dignity in labor, all of which she portrays in her works. The Eghaghas never forget where they come from or the country which has nurtured them to be what they are. They yearn to identify themselves first as Africans and secondly as Ghanaians. In this vein, they generally use strong colors such as red, yellow and green as a way of showing their patriotism.
The couple primarily uses cotton for their products. The fabric is thoroughly washed to rid it of all impurities and then gently ironed. The desired image is drawn on the fabric before the colors are applied, and the actual process involves dyeing the fabric with one color after the other. Since sun-drying is avoided since it may cause the wax to melt, two or more days are required to design one batik – depending on the number of colors involved. The next step is done on the waxing table, where the wax is melted. A special foam with a pointed edge is used for the wax method to bring out those beautiful designs in the batiks. Every step in the process is carefully executed by the couple themselves. More hands come to assist only when orders come in large quantities.
Being in this business for so long out of which they have built a home, the couple is so excited and proud with what they do. Omotigho says of his wife, who frequently teaches in a Bible school and runs the home as well: "I am so blessed to have a wife who is so loving and hard working." Their daughter, a university student, is very supportive too.