Ekow Eshun: ‘When I grew up I wanted to be Spider-Man’

The writer, 54, talks about his inspirational parents, the terror of bungee jumping and his unorthodox path to becoming director of the ICA

My earliest memory is seeing the ocean for the first time. I was in a car aged three, driving along the Atlantic coast in Ghana. I was so struck by the light on the water and the incessant waves. It was like seeing another world. Before that, I’d only known land.

My parents led by example. They came to Britain from Ghana in the early 60s. They didn’t tell us we had to work twice as hard, they modelled it. My dad did an MBA as an adult. My mum was a nurse and also did a degree. It was about extending their opportunities, navigating a world tilted against people of colour. Their capacity to adapt, survive and thrive was inspiring.

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