This interview project is part of Showcase’s initiative to feature exciting contemporary art from regions of the world which are too often disregarded when Eurocentric art professionals are debating and deciding among themselves about who is who in the art world and claim and believe that their debate is equivalent to the global discourse on art. As a result of the Eurocentric dominance in setting the standards and defining the criteria of what kind of contemporary art is considered as relevant, relatively little real attention is given to artists from regions of the world that are not located in Europe or Northern America. Where is Africa on this “global” stage? Where are Latin America and Southern Asia? In order to contribute to a change in this imbalance in the composition of what is called the “international art scene” the Berlin-based production and curatorial research and production platform SHOWCASE together with their colleagues and partners from Bureau Africa is launching online “The Black Stars of Ghana – Art District”, a series of videos that aim to let viewers experience the depth, vibrancy, beauty, vision and diversity of contemporary art produced on the African continent.
In an interview with “This Is Africa” film-maker Safia Dickersbach, from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, explained the reasons for choosing Ghana as the first country on SHOWCASE’s tour through the African countries:
“Contemporary art in Ghana rests upon a rich history of artistic tradition reaching back hundreds of years into the past. The classical art tradition of the Ghanaian historic kingdoms of the Ashanti (who are a part of the Akan people), the Ewe and other tribes still influences modern artistic expression without preventing today’s artists from exploring both established and uniquely personal styles of contemporary art production. Ancient symbols like the Adinkra symbols and special crafts like the Kente weaving tradition and the making of glass beads or the carving of wood still exert a strong influence on the design and aesthetics of the contemporary art and culture in Ghana. By making use of this rich ancestral heritage on the one hand, while creating art in an independent personal style on the other, present-day Ghanaian art has established a regional reputation that goes far beyond its home country and has moved the contemporary artists in Ghana out of the shadow of the global art scene.” (From The Black Stars of Ghana, a new series of video conversations with Ghana’s leading contemporary visual artists. http://bit.ly/16ejiHb)
The season started on Monday, August 19th, 2013, with the episode about Wiz Kudowor. While drawing upon the rich heritage of artistic tradition and cultural symbols in Ghana’s history, Wiz Kudowor developed his uniquely personal style of artistic expression with reminiscence of Cubist and Futurist shapes and designs.
2nd: On Monday, August 26th, 2013, the 2nd episode about Prof. Ablade Glover was put on-line. Ablade Glover combines a decades-long teaching career in art education culminating in the position of Dean of the College of Art and Head of the Department of Art Education at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi with an even more successful career as a visual artist which turned him today into a kind of elder statesman for the contemporary Ghanaian art scene.
Episode 3 featuring Gabriel Eklou has also been broadcast. Gabriel Eklou worked as a qualified accountant before finding personal and professional fulfilment as a full-time painter. Gabriel Eklou’s trademark are slim and stretched tall imaginary figures with very long legs walking majestically and proud through an African landscape. He describes the African continent as the “beginning and the base” of his artistic work.
Episode 4, features Kobina Nyarko, who has become well-known for his paintings depicting countless tiny fishes on large-scale canvasses. Kobina Nyarko, who belongs to a 3rd generation of post-independence Ghanaian artists, organizes these numerous colourful fishes so that they form compositions reminiscent of abstract expressionism.
On Monday, September 30th, 2013, Episode 7 featuring Larry Otoo was launched. Larry Otoo, who once labelled himself a “contemporary traditionalist”, uses paintings to document contemporary social life in a West African environment and visualizes the conditio humana as he sees it in everyday Ghanaian life. Described as a “social commentator” rather than a political artist, Larry Otoo combines and alternates between realistic, expressionist or abstract styles in his colourful works that create their visual effect not only by a carefully balanced, yet powerful colouration, but also through their contextual rhythm and surface texture.
Bureau Africa & SHOWCASE // Contact: Eda Aden <firstname.lastname@example.org> // Website: http://www.showcaseint.com/
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