Glossary according to DELA ANYAH: definitions of key concepts and ideas that make up each body of work.

Edition No. 3, August 2023.


Dela Anyah is a contemporary artist and author who lives and works in Accra, Ghana. A resident of the busiest City in Ghana, Dela’s art possesses the power to shed light on the by-product of a fast economy “Rubbish” or “Debris”. He uses these debris or discarded materials to tackle certain social issues that generate thought provoking conversations among his viewers.

Dela’s first earliest recollection of an interest in art, was drawing behind fashion magazines in his Mums workshop. He would later take an interest in drawing landscapes and doodles of his classmates back in high school. Also in High School (Achimota Secondary School), he would sneak up to the labs just to fiddle with old rusty apparatus from years before and seek out old photographs and historic items and stories about his school.

Growing up, one of Dela’s grandparents sold charcoal and firewood. They owned a farm as well and he’ll occasionally visit his hometown with them during Easter Holidays. Years later, Dela’s work began to take form through subtle exposure to the rustic aesthetic of his surroundings during his early upbringing; giving him two materials evident in his art: jute sacks and wood.

Another grandparent was a headmistress, and her home was filled with exercise books, crayons and other literary materials. Dela Anyah’s uncles also had an influence on his Art; one being an artist, Dela recalls going to his sacred room and touching his palette filled with oil paints. Dela’s other uncle also taught him how to use Microsoft paint and this ushered me into the world of digital art. Most of all, being in their homes always gave me a chance to dig through drawers, lockers and more, in search of random items. This has given Dela the chance to incorporate his love for antique objects and aged items into his work.

These earlier experiences birthed Dela Anyah’s Multi-disciplinary approach to art; finding beauty in discarded items or products giving him the chance to self-express his art in all mediums.


A campaigning action taken by an individual or group to bring about societal, political or environmental change.


Afrobutylism is a word coined by Dela Anyah to define [his] artwork created primarily using butyl rubber, inspired by the traditional African art practice of using found objects, in response to tackling the environmental issues surrounding improper disposal of butyl rubber materials.  Afro coming from the word Africa and butylism coming from my use of butyl inner tubes.


An image or object of high aesthetic, cultural and spiritual value made out of a divine epiphany—that one can usually not explain during the process of creation as they are consumed by a force beyond them. Art at the highest level (where new waves, mediums, techniques, stories, movements are birthed) is something so pure and rare, and thus commands a high commercial and social value.

Artist statement

I create assemblages primarily using discarded butyl innertubes and tires. I am interested in exploring the expression of rebirth and identity through up-cycling.



In his sculptures and installations, Dela Anyah transforms discarded objects as butyl inner tubes, polypropylene sacks, license plates and rubber tyres, into assemblages using garment-making techniques such as weaving and patchwork.

In transforming discarded objects into assemblages, Ghanaian-born Dela Anyah considers the ways value and identity are expressed in discarded objects through the process of up-cycling. He dubs his practice Afrobutylism, coined after his predominant material of choice discarded butyl inner tubes, which pose environmental concerns due to burning and poor waste management in Ghana.

Anyah was an artist in residence at the Noldor Residency in 2022. The next year, he came in as Second Runner Up for the Kuenyehia Prize. His work belongs in the collections of Sir David Adjaye (New York, London, Accra), the Institute Museum of Ghana and the Isshaq Foundation in Accra, Ghana.


An object on which paintings are made; originally made out of canvas due to its material properties. For DELA ANYAH the canvas of choice is upcycled debris: discarded inner tubes, car and bicycle tires, bicycle rim, license plates, jute sacks, old newspapers and polypropylene sacks.

Climate Change

Is there climate change or not?
What if “climate change” changed our lives?
What if the stories are true?
The increasing temperatures and rising ocean levels?
What if the stories are true?
What would you do?
What if climate change is changing our lives?


Dela means "Savior" in Ewe. Ewe(Eve or Evegbe) is a Gbe language spoken by the Ewes in southeastern Ghana and Togo.


Our planet


Birth place; Formerly known as the Gold Coast.

Global Warming

If you experience the rise in temperatures then you know its not made up or a lie

Greenhouse Gasses

  • Water vapor
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Ozone
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Chlorofluorocarbons


Hessian sacks

These are usually used to ship cocoa and other foodstuffs to and from Ghana. It can be seen as a metaphor of sharing ideas between countries. Just as ideas are traded, patterns and norms are traded as well. We may be far apart from others globally, but the ideas and issues that affect us are heard of and known by others through the use of these jute sacks; that are employed to convey messages on social issues from our locality to another.

Inner Tube

An inner-tube is only an air-filled rubber ring-shaped inflated tube that is inserted inside a tire (pneumatic tyre). While the outer tire offers grip and guards this more delicate tube, this tube gives the car or bicycle structural stability and suspension. Imagine it as a donut-shaped balloon that is hidden inside numerous truck, bicycle, and automobile tires.


A channel to share ideas.


A place where fishes and other marine creatures live; a place slowly destroyed by plastic pollution


Simple fact: An object/polymer that takes more than a 1000 years to degrade.

Rubbish / Debris

An object discarded by another—to be destroyed—due to its loss of value. 


A world where a tire's entire lifecycle—from manufacturing to disposal to upcycling and beyond—is centered. In this world, manufacturers, distributors, waste management or sanitation organizations, mechanics, vulcanizers, tire traders, recyclers, upcyclers, and last but not least, vehicle owners (consumers) who occasionally change their tires, are all participants.


Turning something of low quality into something of higher quality. Giving new life and purpose to things that had become useless or rubbish.

Vulcanizer workshop

Vulcanizer workshops serve as entranceways into the tire-verse, a place where we can encounter people, consumerism, change, abandonment, and decay. The worlds of trade, transportation, sanitation, and, of course, art are all connected to one another through these spaces.