In my artistic practice, I explore two main themes: rebirth and identity. I am inspired by the concept of rebirth, in which seemingly abandoned or symbolically dead objects are injected with a new sense of purpose, giving them new life. Furthermore, I am fascinated by the significance of names and their function in forming one's identity. This attraction stems from the rich traditions of African naming, in which names are derived from one's birth circumstances.
In my art, I continue this tradition by naming my works after the circumstances that led to their development, utilizing African names that also pay honor to my cultural heritage and background.
My name, Dela, holds profound meaning as it signifies "Savior" in Ewe, a Gbe language spoken by the Ewe people in southeastern Ghana and Togo. This connection to my Ewe identity has been a central theme in my creative endeavors. I incorporate numerous Ewe names into my works, initially as a means of learning the language and fostering a deeper connection with my heritage. Over time, this practice evolved into a fascination with African names, leading me to explore naming traditions and their shared meanings across various tribes and cultures in Africa, such as the Yoruba, Igbo, and Tswana.
African names, often infused with religious or inspirational significance, are not limited to personal nomenclature. Ghanaians extend this tradition to crafting slogans and sayings, prominently displayed on shop signs, canoes, and trotros. These expressions, rooted in uplifting and divine connotations, mirror the broader theme of rebirth—a prevalent theme in my work. This notion transcends individual nomenclature, encapsulating the collective aspiration to imbue every new life with an inspiring name that sets a positive tone for their journey.
All photographs taken of the reverse of works.