SERGE ATTUKWEI CLOTTEY CONVEYS LABADI ART TO KEMPINSKI

Serge Attukwei Clottey has been spearheading cutting edge ‘afrogallonist’ contemporary art and leading the Golokal team to explore the development of a visual and performance style or voice which speaks about social, political and personal issues in Ghana.

6th  March marks Ghana’s Independence Day and 59 years since Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah took to the streets with the entire citizenry to usher a nation into being, not forgetting, pushing the pan-African passion which resonated across borders through the entire continent and beyond.

You could either find Serge in his home-turned-studio with studio assistants who also form part of the Golokal team mending together plain lattice sheets cut from the ubiquitous yellow jerry cans which are usually used to fetch and store water because the taps are short of it most of the time. He takes his time weaving through these with copper wires like a spider does cobwebs and sometimes paints acrylic over some portions of the clustered squares mimicking kente patterns.

Also, Serge might simply put down statements like “Keep Off” or “This House Is Not For Sale” like is found on uncompleted buildings all over town due to land ownership issues. Nii Tetteh Nteni, as spelled on the front of the compound house reminds of his great grand father and the story of the migration from Jamestown to present day Labadi where he stays. Serge’s masks spring off visual clarity significant of Ghanaian artsy prowess like Beninese Romuald Hazoumè’s unique plastic faces.

From having a father who is also a painter but doesn’t fancy the modern traits of contemporary art such as Serge’s work and as such chiding as “this is not art” to no funds coming in from the governmental institutions to support practicing artists in Ghana, Serge has come a long way to make a statement across borders with his choice of work, and is not too far from being pan-African himself as he bears Nkrumah’s ideals of making Africa better for ourselves with our own visions.

“6th March 1957. Ghana, an arbitrary collection of states brought together by the British, won its independence & began to forge a new identity; new name, new flag, new anthem, new symbols of being. Each year, the artist Serge Attukwei Clottey creates a performance on Independence Day. In rhythms of time, festivals across Ghana create ritualised performances, cyclically reenacting their mythologies of beginning & becoming, bringing the past into the present, flattening time. This year Clottey with ANO, whose interests lie in untold, less visible histories, conceptualised a performance that focuses less on the bombastic, conflict-driven narratives of history, and instead highlights the feminine aspects of protest, the personal within the collective; honoring women as collectors of cloths, markers of time & change.”

Attukwei’s creations werre recently on display in a solo exhibition at the recently-opened dual galleries Feuer/Mesler and Mesler/Feuer in New York. Today, he transports the Labadi goodness to Kempinski Hotel in Accra with ‘My Mother’s Wardrobe’ as curated by the writer, cultural fanatic and ANO founder Nana Oforiattah Ayim.

 

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West African singer Kunle making strides in Canada

Toronto people, this month catch former Ghana-based ace guitarist and mouth organ magician Kunle in Owen Sound. He’s also unplugging gigs in two music series nights in the big city!

Enter a caption”In honour of finally getting some snow last night, here’s a picture from a snowy night during last year’s crazy winter in Toronto” – Kunle, experiencing his first winter in Canada!

After a recent trip to Jamaica, the Nigeria-born artist promises nothing but raw class in the music field he is pursuing.

Let’s go back a few months in time and reflect on Kunle‘s New Year’s resolutions which echo his genuine ambition and plan. For Kunle, looking ahead is more about your attitude, perspective and values. That’s the theme of one of his fan-favourite songs, But A Dream. It’s the classic nursery rhyme “Row Row Your Boat” reworked with added Travis Picking and Middle Eastern sounds. As a kid, Kunle used to march into class, single file with the other students, chanting row, row, row your boat, gently down the steam…It wasn’t until adulthood that the meaning started to sink in.

Kunle left Ghana a little over a year ago today to start a new journey in Canada. It has been an amazing year of songwriting, performances, new fans and lots and lots of learning.

“I’ve been blessed and I am so grateful for everything that has happened so far,” says Kunle.

Within this year, Kunle has played in cafes and restaurants across Ontario, Mariposa Folk Festival and Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre and Hard Rock Cafe. He’s played live on the radio and even opened for Shaggy. His song, My Little Fingers was selected by Folk Music Ontario’s Songs of the Heart competition. Not to mention that he finished his first EP, titled ‘Ami n Rele’.

But the operative word in what Kunle said is ‘so far’. He’s looking forward. He is focused on what his second year in Canada may bring…

Check out a little video put together by Kunle‘s friend Vanessa Destra! 

Kunle. Photo creds: Vanessa Destra
Fri Mar 11Owen Sound ON – 9-11pmThe Avalon (Kunle is featuring guitarist Stephen San Juan for this show!) 

Thurs Mar 17Toronto ON 9pmWonderfest SeriesFolly Brewpub (Kunle featured) 

Mon Mar 21Toronto ON – 7:30-11:30pmMFactor MondaysOld Nick Pub(Hosted by Elana Harte, Kunle featured)