From Junk to Jewels: Essilfie Banton’s Art Exhibition Brings Trash to Life

By Philip NeeWhang 6 Min Read

Essilfie Banton, a versatile artist who transforms trash from wasteland into luxurious works of art, is the upcoming major name in the art world that everyone should keep an eye out for! He gets his creative inventiveness from waste materials that others would consider filth and grime!

You might be wondering what trash, or rather, waste that has been disposed of, can do for Ghana’s economy. In addition to other things, art is one of the most lucrative industries in the world, bringing in millions of dollars! And Ghana needs to figure out how to properly transform garbage into a valuable product that can help the nation’s growing unemployment crisis.

Clearly overlooked and taken for granted, this is not the case with Essilfie Banton, the Ghanaian-born artist who is making wonders with his hands, and guess what? He is not taking all the accolades! Essilfie Banton has not only dedicated his life to turning trash into luxury art but has also taken it upon himself to train young Ghanaian youths into making meaningful choices with their lives by turning to art and using their artistic gifts to create beautiful art pieces worthy of admiration, preservation, and monetary value.

I had the privilege to attend one of his recent art exhibitions at Mpraeso, Kwahu in the Eastern Region of Ghana during the Easter Celebrations, the exhibition took place from Friday 7th April to Monday 10th April 2023, and to my utmost senses, my mind was blown away!


The Kwahu journey was not just my first time to that area of the country and the mountains with its wonders, but the artwork I encountered there was absolutely incredible. Literally, waste was transformed into amazing and lovely works of art that were displayed in the Akonta Gardens’ center, just a few miles from Mpraeso Senior High School. Essilfie Banton is a talented artist who merits encouragement and acclaim on a national level. It was a privilege to hear Essilfie Banton’s thoughts to those who attended the occasion.

“Art can serve as a way of helping mood, I saw a problem of trash indiscriminate disposals in Ghana so I decided to do something about it, I decided to collect trash from the environment and use it to help solve some of the problems we have (poor sanitation, improper waste disposal, and poor recycling), I looked at the pile of waste in the city and I felt the desire to come up with something new” – Essilfie Banton

Essilfie Banton also highlighted how trash designs or art can be used to create jobs for employment by stating that people collect trash for him and he pays them, they wash it and he pays them, putting together the exhibition, booking the exhibition space, among many other things serving as an avenue where someone else gets paid or earns a livelihood, not to mention the extensive career possibilities that art processes can generate.


Diving deeper into how long it takes him to finish a piece, Essilfie Banton mentioned “A piece can take up about 2 months. I spend a lot of hours within a day working to craft the perfect alignment”. Mentioning some of the challenges he faces in his line of work, Essilfie Banton wailed on how people are not conscientize to value waste, and how people discriminate career choices, highlighting how he often gets tagged as a “mad person” when he goes around collecting waste to create art,

He added “people do not know the end results of what I want to do and they always judge wrongly, most people only focus their sight on what they can see now – Organic waste does not really matter as it decomposes fast, but the inorganic waste is the real case. Inorganic waste can take very long (up to 500 years or more) to decompose, and this is the real problem if not properly recycled or taken care of”.

You can purchase Essilfie Banton art via his social media “Essilfie Banton”. Other artists’ works were also displayed ranging from art paintings to photography and fashion – the incredible Ellisha Boie who turns second-hand clothing into recycled and creative pieces of clothing! Further artists displayed at the Trash 4 Art exhibition put together by Essilfie Banton include Ekow the Weaver, Philip NeeWhang, Pabs Official, Gakpeson, Be_solomon, Acydik, Kwabena Nimo, Arrow, Potter, and Emmanuel Lartey among many others.



Share This Article