‘ORGANIC’ GHANAIAN ART TO REGENERATE PUBLIC SPACES

If you’ve not heard about blaxTARLINES KUMASI yet, you should update your art loving senses because this collective looks to take the world by fire rainbows. blaxTARLINES KUMASI happens to be a project space for contemporary art founded by the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and proud producers of “The Gown Must Go To Town” which could easily be ranked as one of the most intriguing exhibitions in the country last year.

The term “The Gown Must Go To Town” was borrowed from a line in Kwame Nkrumah‘s 1963 speech ‘The African Genius’. The Gown must go to Town was a grand exhibition displayed at the Museum of Science and Technology in Accra, and it went to honour two of Ghana’s representatives at the 56th Venice Biennale; highlighting the works of 28 year old Ibrahim Mahama’s participation as the youngest artist of the All the World’s Futures exhibition as well as Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui for receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. There was this other exhibition called ‘Silence between the Lines’ at a repurposed car showroom in Kumasi.

This time around, blaxTARLINES KUMASI brings you a more organic and site-specific exhibition called “if you love me…” between  the 15th of april and 5th may 2016 at the Loco Shed of the Kumasi Railway, opening: 15 april, 3 pm // open daily 9am – 5 pm.

“if you love me…” is a collaborative effort of railway workers, occupants, engineers, artists, and students of KNUST. The idea is to take on the space of the Kumasi Loco Shed as a living organism, a structure with a vital life of its own. The independently staged exhibition presents work born out of freedom of thought and practice, steered by attitudes of subtle resistance, activated by suggestions of renewal. The project aims to penetrate the site like a bacteriophage on a host cell, quietly attaching to the cell’s DNA and reproducing, until the space has been regenerated.

With Kumasi as its nucleus, the project flows out to other locations along the tracks, from Takoradi to Accra, mapping a trajectory of the railway system. Presenting work by 30 artists and numerous collaborators, if you love me… meditates not only on human love, but that of plants, winds, germs, machines; not only on romantic love, but also toxic, consuming, possibly fatal passion. The pharmakon, both poison and cure, can be the Agent Smith that replicates itself onto subsumed subjects, or the kenosis that empties out the disease. Dangerous, seductive, formless, it floats in free play, disappears into itself, and ever eludes grasp or possession.

 if you love me… resonates with strategies of “ironic overidentification” as proposed by KNUST art teacher kąrî’kạchä seid’ou — inserting oneself within the site of critique, in order to transform that subject. In this interdisciplinary and intergenerational project, a host of familiar faces and other new ones join together in a labour of love that transcends institutional, intellectual, and categorical lines, toward a more Consciencious future.

Participating Artists:
Accra Train Station (Nii Noi Nortey, Nii Otoo Annan, J. C. Abbey); Timothy Affram; Akwasi Bediako Afrane; Rex Akinruntan; Bernard Akoi-Jackson; Dorothy Amenuke; Francis Anim Sakyi; Lois Selasie Arde-Acquah; Lolo Atanley; Lawrence Baganiah; Geoffrey Akpene Biekro (Captain’s Kitchen); Edwin Bodjawah; Yaw Brobbey Kyei; Eugene Edzorho; Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi (crazinisT artisT); Kelvin Haizel; Ella Kankam; Adjo Kisser; Eric Okwei Nii Noye; Caterina Niklaus; Elvis Nsiah; Legon Pr3k3s3 (School of Performing Arts, Legon); Emmanuel Opoku Manu; Yaw Owusu; Deryk Owusu Bempah; Afia Prempeh; Stephen Smart Sippah; Kwaku Tabiri

Co-Curators: Robin Riskin, Selom Kudjie, Patrick Nii Okanta Ankrah

Advisors: kąrî’kạchä seid’ou, Kwaku Boafo Kissiedu, George Ampratwum

Support: Edwin Bodjawah, Ibrahim Mahama, Caterina Niklaus, Stephen Smart Sippah

Takoradi Coordinators: Eugene Edzorho, Rex Akinruntan

Partner Institutions:
blaxTARLINES KUMASI
Department of Painting and Sculpture, KNUST
Ghana Railway Company Ltd.
Ghana Railway Workers Union

Supporting Institutions:
Ghana Museums and Monuments Board
Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly
Ghana National Fire Service
Western Regional Library
DDP Outdoor Ltd.

Exhibition Location:
Locomotive Shed
Kumasi Railway
(Adum, at Asafo Interchange, Kumasi, Ghana)
with an off-site intervention at the Takoradi Railway Station

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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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