ATTUKWEI- THE AFROGALLONIST FROM LABADI

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(Attukwei ‘The Plastic Journeys’ photo by Golokal)

He traces his Labadi-resident, painter, photographer, sculptor, performance artist and Afrogallonism guru  Attukwei had a very good year in 2014, being featured in many magazines including Okay Africa, projects across Europe as artist-in-residence at Kunsthalle Exnergasse and exhibitions as well as performances in conjunction with Accra [dot] Alt. We find the characteristic feature of Attukwei’s work in the riddle of its organic synthesis through the artistic comprehension of how it unravels with its philosophical and scientific perception. This alloy of the artistic and the philosophical figments is inherent in all the legendary creatives the world has ever known.

His work navigates the essence of identity in relation with a particular location; Labadi, and spiritual presence as a resident of the dense town in the middle of Accra which has a history that few Ghanaians are inclined to. His new series of art works; ‘The Plastic Journeys’ as compared to his other patterns is different in terms of complexity and texture. He showcases his works mostly on his blog: (www.sergeoclottey.blogspot.com) and connects with artists and enthusiasts worldwide who admire his pieces as an eye-opener to what could come out of material that are common in our society but regarded less as probable art composites.

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He finds these jerrycans/ “Kuffuor gallons”(named after the ex-president of Ghana, the gallons are used due to water supply problems) in and around  the Kpeshie lagoon which has a history with the Teshie and La stool-lands who fought over its ownership, in the form of neglected waste. He collects these gallons to his workshop, and with his Golokal  team, make intrinsic art that speaks volumes. His work weaves the context of history and relevance of materials like the plastic as used daily by people in the Ghanaian society to collect water or fuel as well as their potential of ending up as waste and contaminating the environment.

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(Attukwei- Migration Messages 2014)

The patterns he exhibited at the recent Sabolai Music Festival had plastic pieces woven together like textiles, embedded computer keyboards and remote controls. That he explains as the infusion of technology and its results in relation to the contemporary state of the society. The jerrycans used for art is nothing new, as seen in Beninois artist, Romuald Hazoume’s works, but here it finds a different meaning and is in relation to a different group of people and context. He showcased a different series of works using wooden logs to depict migration and its problems earlier on in 2014, and goes on to perform with a team of artists called Golokal in Accra about political and socially relevant issues like global warming, capitalism and imperialism

.(the torn flags - Serge Attukwei 2014)serge3serge6

His photography finds poetry distilled in a frame shared from the common environment where his art works are developed. Attukwei is a contemporary artist, but one who identifies very well as a socially-conscious subject of his reality and a passionate one at it, reflecting the truth that art is not always so far-fetched.

In his performance art piece; “Gold Coast;” together with the Golokal group and the students from the University of Applied art ( Austria, Vienna), they explored the illegal mining problem posed by Chinese in Ghana.  He mentions that; “there were rumours going round in La that I had dug gold after my performance of Gold Coast.”

He also has an on-going project he calls “Africa is not charity” which involves video installations, sculptures, photography and performances.  His parodies in experimental theater, music and art installations are distinct and intriguing. Once asked by Accra [dot] Alt about what inspires the Golokal performances, Attukwei responds “I look at the community I live in because that inspires my work. I look at people and how they struggle to speak. Then I try to bring out solutions to problems that are affecting the community.”

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Author: Kwame 'Write' Aidoo

Kwame Aidoo, also known as Write is a fond reader, writer and lover of music and the arts, with a degree in Biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Tech., Kumasi and a certificate in Cultural Organizations in Transition from University of Lüneburg. He founded the creative activism movement: Inkfluent which curates Slam Ghana, The Write Experience, Vocal Portraits poetry albums, Slam Lab and the biggest literary festival in Ghana; Nkabom Literary Festival. Aside Ghana, where he is based, he has shown work in Brazil, Togo, Austria, France, Benin, Germany and Burkina Faso and most recently Norway with Aurora Ekvatorialis; a light sculpture and texts collaboration with Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen, exhibiting at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, 16.9.2016 – 15.1.2017.

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