We’ll expand on this story soon, but much has happened since we installed Samuel Aboagye’s Solar Scooter and Solar Taxi in our Electric Revolutionaries exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum.  The Motor/Cycle Arts Foundation sent team members Dan Green and Greg Hatton to Accra, Ghana, to make a short documentary of Sam’s world, which you can see here.  Our team was invited to present the story our relationship with Sam at a design conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, by Safir Belali, who teaches at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.  Two of our team were able to participate in person – Greg Hatton and Nadia Amer – and Paul d’Orléans participated by Zoom.  We shared our film of Samuel, and discussed our developing relationship with him, and were then joined by Samuel himself by Zoom, who answered questions from the professional designers and students in attendance.  It turned out to be quite a moving presentation, as Samuel has basically has nothing and lives in a very poor community, but created something amazing solely from his ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Samuel Aboagye in Accra, Ghana, with his Solar Taxi and Solar Scooter [Efo Selasi]
There were several results of that conference: Samuel was awarded a one-year design scholarship at the Art Center, and was given the promise of professional mentorship to assist him through his educational process.  Both Safir Belali and Greg Hatton have provided weekly work sessions with Samuel, who is progressing well in his studies.  As an extra treat, the M.A.F. sent Samuel with his friend, YouTube producer Efo Selasi, to Marrakech for a follow-on design conference.  It was the first time Samuel had traveled outside of his home in Accra, and it truly blew his mind and expanded his boundaries. Samuel is now progressing in his studies, and we will continue to work with him, exploring how the M.A.F. can expand our educational project with the experience we’ve gained in this incredibly rewarding process.

Dan Green and Greg Hatton at the Petersen Museum in early 2023 for the Electric Revolutionaries exhibit, before picking up Samuel’s vehicles in Accra. [Paul d’Orléans]
To bring Samuel’s two vehicles back to the USA, Dan Green had to dismantle both, taking careful notes on their construction – they were not intended to be dismantlable! The two vehicles were carried back as hand luggage – it was the same price to send two filmmakers to Accra as to ship the two vehicles via DHL!
[Dan Green]
The Solar Taxi fully dismantled in Accra. [Greg Hatton]
The Solar Scooter ‘kit’ as returned to the USA, in the Vault of the Petersen Museum. [Dan Green]
A collection of images from the Creative Offsite Marrakesh event in February 2023, organized by Safir Belali. [Safir Belali, Greg Hatton]

Paul d’Orléans is the founder of TheVintagent.com. He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.