Sirigu is a scenic village in the Upper East Region of Ghana, in a fairy-tale savannah landscape with beautiful, typical Northern traditionally decorated houses, trees, and farmlands.
The people of Sirigu are mostly farmers, growing sorghum, millet, groundnut and keeping cattle, goats and fowl and livestock. Several years of intensive farming and poor rainfall has degraded the land to the extent that even subsistence farming in threatened. This is made worse by low prices of farm produce and unreliable rains.
Sirigu is well known for its basketry, pottery, traditional architecture, and wall paintings. Many children owe their education and healthcare to income generated from the handicraft and traditional arts produced by the women of Sirigu. Consequent decline of yields form farm has made it even more urgent to revive these artforms and to leverage it as an important source of income for the women for the upkeep of their families. As stated above women are mostly involved in the making of the artworks, hence SWOPA (Sirigu Women Organization for Pottery and Art).
Women in Sirigu are socially and economically disadvantaged in the community due to the largely male-dominated traditional system. They have a low literacy rate and have to combine household chores with the heavy farming workload. Pottery making, basketry, wall painting and canvas painting therefore provide the only means for them to earn their own income and also serve as a platform to develop and express their age-old individual potentials and identity.
Sirigu Village is best known for its painted houses. The exteriors of the homes and adjoining walls are painted in a traditional style, which is done only by women.
At the SWOPA center, a guide can be arranged for a village walk. You will learn the history of the village and the way of life. There is a small fee. You will be invited into homes in the village for a close-up look at the painted houses. Photography is encouraged.
The SWOPA Center has a gift shop. Paintings, pottery, beautiful straw hats, straw baskets and straw hand fans are available at very low prices. The work is beautiful, and you won't find these items anywhere else.