By Reginald Ofori Kyere

Comfort Arthur
Comfort Arthur

“My battery is dead; I would have shown you the trailer”. Comfort Arthur points animatedly to a laptop in the bag she has set on the table before us.

The baggy jeans, high-top sneakers, and the African cotton fabric she has  woven neatly around her hair, are telling of her multi- cultural upbringing – as a Ghanaian who has lived the U.K for many years – than her accent, which however, is authentically British-Ghanaian.

She plays the trailer on her phone and hands it to me to watch. It is a 47- second video of her debut, animated film “The Peculiar Life of a Spider”. Trailer: 

She is hoping to release it in Ghana next year.

“It is a dark comedy that tells the tragic story of Kwaku Ananse. In summary, she explains, after a terrible accident Kwaku Ananse has to go through reconstruction”

The restructuring leaves Ananse with four legs. The Peculiar Life of a Spider follows Ananse as he struggles with depression and a new identity.

Ms Arthur, a talented, once cartoon-mad artist was drawn to animation while studying illustration at the Central St. Martin School of Arts in London. She discovered that telling stories with immovable images was not enough.
“I said to myself, let me try and get my images to move”. And she did, by enrolling for a Master’s Programme in Animation at the Royal College of Arts in the U.K.

For her MA project, she created a 2D animation film titled Mad Val, about a middle-aged man, George Griffin, who shares a flat with an unruly woman called Val.

It was a dream-come-true. Her new characters could now strut, get a beer from the fridge and even sing.

A storyteller at heart, Ms Arthur considers content more important than form or technique. And she stays true to that in all her works.

“Animation doesn’t have to be Disney-like. She says. The story is what pushes animation”.
“I am not saying technique is not important, she adds. But I will choose story telling over technique”

IMG-20151201-WA0047The huge beam she has worn throughout the interview dims the moment I mention screening and financing and women in animation.

“I’d like to see more female animators like we have in England. There aren’t many females doing animation in Ghana, which is sad”, she says ruefully.

She confines she has had a horrid time trying to get a venue to premiere her film. Venues that are renowned as safe havens for artists are surprisingly either expensive or not receptive to her kind of work.

These challenges notwithstanding, her enthusiasm and thrill about her work have not dulled. Instead, she believes she would be more successful at getting her film screened at art and film festivals around the world.

With that, she smiles – Her beautiful, happy beam retracing its steps back onto her face.

The Peculiar Life of a Spider is voiced by Kwaku Boateng Ankomah (Beasts of No Nation).

Music is by Kofi (I Am Beat menace) Ansah

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