Home » Asante monarch of Ghana makes history as first African royal in renowned Pirelli Calendar

Asante monarch of Ghana makes history as first African royal in renowned Pirelli Calendar

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in Pirelli Calendar: A historic first

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi
Ghanas Asante king

In a historic first, Ghana’s esteemed Asante King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II graces the pages of the 2024 Pirelli Calendar. This marks the inaugural inclusion of an African monarch in the distinguished trade calendar, a milestone noted by the king’s Manhyia palace since its inception in 1964.

Renowned for its unique approach to photography, the Pirelli Calendar initially gained fame for its artistic and provocative images featuring prominent models, actresses, and celebrities. This approach helped the calendar mark the passing of time not just in months and days, but in cultural and artistic milestones.

However, in a significant shift from its traditional focus, the 2024 edition of the Pirelli Calendar has embraced a broader spectrum of fame and influence. This latest edition notably includes an array of personalities ranging from royal dignitaries to globally recognized celebrities and models. This rebranding reflects a more inclusive and diverse representation of global figures, signaling a new era for the iconic calendar.

The esteemed Pirelli Calendar, a coveted item in the world of art and culture, remains an exclusive publication not available for public purchase. Each year, around 20,000 copies are meticulously crafted and reserved as special gifts for a select group of Pirelli’s distinguished clients and notable celebrities. The production of each edition is a significant investment, typically incurring a budget of approximately $2 million.

In a momentous turn for the 2024 edition, the calendar aligns with a significant milestone in Ghanaian history – the Silver Jubilee of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the revered monarch of the Asante Kingdom. This historic edition features Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in the august company of internationally acclaimed personalities such as Naomi Campbell, Idris Elba, and Angela Bassett, adding a regal dimension to its pages.

Adding to the edition’s significance is the selection of 28-year-old Ghanaian photographer Prince Gyasi. His involvement marks a groundbreaking moment as he becomes the first Black and first African photographer to lens the calendar. His selection to capture the essence of the calendar’s 50th edition evokes a sense of profound humility and honor in him.

Reflecting on this extraordinary opportunity, Gyasi expresses his excitement and amazement, acknowledging the remarkable feat of being one of the youngest photographers to undertake such a prestigious project.

“I’m one of the youngest to do it and it’s amazing, it’s amazing,” he said.

Prince Gyasi’s journey into the realm of photography began at the age of 16, armed only with an iPhone and the vibrant streets of Accra, Ghana’s capital, as his canvas. His talent and unique perspective have since catapulted him to international acclaim, leading to the creation of high-profile campaigns for global brands like Puma and Balmain. His distinctive work has graced the pages of prestigious publications such as Vanity Fair and GQ, as reported by CNN.

For the 2024 Pirelli Calendar, Gyasi has chosen the theme ‘Timeless,’ exemplified through a captivating image of Naomi Campbell posed before a melting clock reminiscent of Salvador Dali’s surrealism. This theme, according to Gyasi, represents concepts and creations that endure the passage of time while maintaining their essence and quality. He aspires to create art that remains impactful and relevant, even when viewed two decades later, avoiding any sense of becoming outdated.

In a move that intertwines his artistic vision with a tribute to his roots, the young Ghanaian visual artist chose to conduct the photoshoot in Ghana, featuring the Asante king among other notable figures. His intention is twofold: to showcase and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Ghana and to highlight the country’s valuable natural resources, such as gold and cocoa. Through this project, Gyasi aims to offer the world a window into the beauty and significance of Ghanaian culture.

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