HOW DO WE CONNECT HISTORY AND IDENTITY? : ART TALK WITH KWASI OHENE-AYEH

“I want to share this research I am working on at the moment and to connect 1844 to 1957. Also, I want to open up the conversation because there is obviously much to learn as well. More importantly, I would like to know other people’s perspectives about our history and how it has affected our national identity.”  

To conceptual artist and curator Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh, questioning is important. It makes more sense as he pulls a Ravi Zacharias quote; “To every question there is a bigger question; to every text there is a context.” With reference to his colleague and renowned Ghana based artist Bernard Akoi Jackson’s work , which has “considered this concept in several ways” and dealt, “for instance, with notions of identity construction, stereotyping and bureaucracy, as pertains to movement and space politics.” Bernard mentions that, “I always look at these issues through a filter of wit and humour. I like them because they become potent decoys to dealing with hardcore iniquities in society.” See more about  Identity is a notoriously contested concept. One can make the deduction that, society is widely affected by its cultural and political history. 

Untitled(Prison Anxieties) 2011. wood, cloth, jute. Installation. Courtesy artist

 

The artist reiterates via this extracts from his current work Notion 06:03: “I have questions about what I have become. The national identity I have inherited since I was born and no doubt affirm. I seek to learn how it came into existence for I know that it has not always been — not in the form it is in now, a nation state. What are the events, sentiments and passions which necessitated and produced this form of identity: that its bearer is burdened with and must exude when journeying through this world?” How do people understand the concept of connecting as a citizen of a geographical area which at some point chooses to derive its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign nation?  

The artist breaks down his interest in a global perspective as he proceeds to point out that; “I seek to learn the presuppositions (historical, linguistic, cultural, political) under-girding my national identity so I can be able to position myself in relation to the next person who has a different national  affiliation.”

Notion: 06 03 was born through a creative developing process at a recent residency the artist pursued at Gasworks. It is not far in relative context to Prison Anxieties; a research series the artist began in 2011 investigating colonial histories. The Bond of 1844 and Ghana’s independence which was in 1957 share the same date, which is 6th of March, and this is of interest in the artist’s work also.

Do not miss out this opportunity with the artist powered by the Studio in collaboration with Foundation for Contemporary Art – Ghana on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm sharp! The artist will present his current work and there will be an interactive session after his presentation. You can find the Studio inside Forico Mall – Down Papaye, behind Asanka Lokal Restaurant, Osu.

Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh. Courtesy Serge Attukwei Clottey

Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh (born 1986) is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Ghana. He is currently pursuing an MFA at the College of Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (KNUST). Recent exhibitions include Untitled… (3) [Letter To The Sky], Iglesia La Merced, Santiago de Cali; Dear Dakar, Àsìkò 4th, CCA Lagos International Art Programme; and Exit Frame – Du Bois In Our Time, W.E.B Du Bois Center, Accra (all 2014). 

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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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