Ghanaian Artist El Anatsui, First African Appointed at London’s Royal Academy

Ghanaian Artist El Anatsui, First African Appointed at London’s Royal Academy

via Ghanaian Artist El Anatsui, First African Appointed at London’s Royal Academy.

Ghanaian Artist El Anatsui, First African Appointed at London’s Royal Academy

Ghanaian artist El Anatsui has been appointed honorary academician by London’s Royal Academy. Best-known for his monumental fabrics made with thousands of small metal pieces, he’s the first African to receive the accolade. Question: what does this mean for African art?

El Anatsui  -  Image -  Benedict Johnson

El Anatsui – Image – Benedict Johnson

Exclusive Blitz The Ambassador Backstage/Concert photos

Autographs backstage-

Autographs backstage-

Blitz and Manifest hang out backstage after the show.

Blitz and Manifest hang out backstage after the show.

The Embassy  crew tune up before heading out on stage.

The Embassy crew tune up before heading out on stage.

Blitz chilling with Manifest and Mawuli.

Blitz chilling with Manifest and Mawuli.

Always good to have an animated crowd.

Always good to have an animated crowd.

Limited Edition Accra Dot Alt tee-shirts on sale.

Limited Edition Accra Dot Alt tee-shirts on sale.

One half of Hola Blak Pow wah rocks his Accra Dot Alt shirt while posing with his grand daughter.

One half of Hola Blak Pow wah rocks his Accra Dot Alt shirt while posing with his grand daughter.

A.D.A's Mantse prepn Blitz before the show.

A.D.A’s Mantse prepn Blitz before the show.

Hola Blak's Phu Cha with Blitz backstage.

Hola Blak’s Phu Cha with Blitz backstage.

Blitz's 2011 album NATIVE SUN on sale at the concert.

Blitz’s 2011 album NATIVE SUN on sale at the concert.

These love birds look like they having a blast at the concert.

These love birds look like they having a blast at the concert.

The autograph sessions were loooong.

The autograph sessions were loooong.

More autographs.

More autographs.

Chilling backstage after the concert.

Chilling backstage after the concert.

The horns chale-

The horns chale-

BLITZ CONCERT-HORNS MEN2

Magic hands- EMBASSY MVMT drummer Sydney with Percussionist Eric.

Magic hands- EMBASSY MVMT drummer Sydney with Percussionist Eric.

The cheers didn't stop chale.

The cheers didn’t stop chale.

Yaa Pono about to let it all go.

Yaa Pono about to let it all go.

Blitz breaks in with a drum solo.

Blitz breaks in with a drum solo.

Blitz: Final set list check before the concert.

Blitz: Final set list check before the concert.

The drummer gets some.

The drummer gets some.

Thanks for the love chale

Thanks for the love chale

We got a lot of photos from Blitz the Ambassador’s concert last weekend, so we are going to be sharing it with you all. This line up features photos from backstage before and after the concert. There is more coming, enjoy this in the mean time.

photos by Raveheads

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013: THE GIRL WHO BROUGHT YOU KWAKU ANANSE

words by NANA OSEI KWADWO | images by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE

The Kwaku Ananse premier in July was everything a film loving crowd would hope for ; great turn out, a participatory crowd and fierce music. The 26 minute short immortalizes the mythical spider by constructing a fresh narrative that retells this famous Ananse tale with multilayered, moody, elliptical shots of a wandering Jojo Abot, who plays Ananse’s daughter. The film suggests that stories normally seen through the lens of post-colonialism could just as easily be seen in existential or mythic terms.

For the record this film had the biggest turn out for an experimental Ghanaian picture, which is a refreshing start. Ghana isn’t known for experimental artsy movies and over the years John Akomfrah has been the only reference when such conversations came up. Our lame claim to his notoriety can stop now.

Adoma at the numbers station.

Adoma at the numbers station.

Akosua Adoma - James Town - 2013 Tagged 8Akosua Adoma Owusu represents a new wave of filmmakers making bold attempts at disrupting the Ghanaian narrative in order to create new forms of story telling that involve risk taking. Hopefully these risks will explore new audiences and markets that would in turn create Ghanaian cinema the world looks forward to. This Kwaku Ananse story feeds our curiosities and creative interpretations made by the audacious individuals it features.

Grace Omaboe who plays Ananse’s wife has not been in a Ghanaian movie for years. At the height of her career, she was in a very popular TV drama series ‘OBRA’. Then through the mid to late 90′s she had a TV show “By The Fire Side” where she told Ananse stories to children. For the people old enough to remember, this film is like a time machine that travels into that past but tells the story in a sequence far removed from what a Ghanaian audience might be used to.

Another character worth mentioning in the movie is Highlife living legend Agya Koo Nimo who played Kweku Ananse. Koo Nimo brought such character volume to the 26 minute picture, it begged further exploration. That was four months ago, Adoma has since gone on to start new projects, but this is certainly worth the reminder.

We caught up with Akosua Adoma Owusu recently during our STROLLING GOATS episode and talked about film and her new projects.

AKOSUA ADOMA OWUSU hangs low on James Town Beach

AKOSUA ADOMA OWUSU hangs low on James Town Beach

What first interested you in film?

Well, my background was in the fine arts, specifically, printmaking and sculpture. I discovered my interest in filmmaking after studying 16mm Cinematography at the University of Virginia with an African American filmmaker, Kevin Jerome Everson. Kevin came from a working-class background – I identified with this in Virginia – and his work in experimental short films and traveling to film festivals really inspired me. So I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Film/Video and Art at CalArts against my parents’ wishes. They wanted me to be more practical and pursue a career in medicine like basically all Ghanaian parents. But creating art through a cinematic medium really spoke to me and impassioned me far more than any “practical” choice could have.

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STROLLING GOATS IN ACCRA : THE CHALE WOTE CHAPTERS

Photos by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE

We continue our CHALE WOTE episode of Strolling Goats in Accra with the rest of the festival’s production crew. Below are more expectations of this year’s edition and thoughts on James Town.

Rita Esionam

I would say James Town is an urban  community that has a lot of interesting places. They also have a lot of interesting things that people always want to see like the beach, the food, the old harbor and a particular type of Highlife music that can only be found in this part of the capital. I’m hoping that through CHALE WOTE young people here will be inspired to embrace education.

Once this happens, everything will change. People here are nice and they make everyone feel welcome. Chale Wote has been a great festival for the community, for us who live here, it’s a way to leave our mark . After this year’s Chale Wote, I hope young people here will be inspired to be creative so they can turn their lives around.

Rita Esinam runs No-Limit Charity, they run art workshops for children during CHALE WOTE.

Rita Esionam runs No Limits Charity and works with more than 500 kids in James Town. She’s coordinating art education workshops for children during CHALE WOTE.

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STROLLING GOATS IN ACCRA: THE CHALE WOTE EPISODE

If you have been following us, you are probably familiar with Strolling Goats in Accra- Our photography series that focuses on repurposing spaces within Accra. Well we’ve been on a little hiatus due to all the running around associated with producing a festival as big as CHALE WOTE. The good news is that we are all set to go and our international participants will start arriving next week. We thought it would be great to show you our team in this episode shot in James Town where the festival takes place.  Below are quotes about what comes to mind when one thinks about this part of Accra and expectations for this year’s festival. Photos by Mantse Aryeequaye

Jahwi
“Buzzing stinky, better yet e dey be, nice fish. You know, plenty nice kenkey. Chale, buzzing energy.”
“I’m trying to see a bigger, brighter, definitely more dynamic show, and looking forward to all the artists who are coming from out of town and in to town. What am I bringing this year? The rocking energy. Chale, I just hope the future generations are appreciating some of the things that we are putting in place for them. I’m always looking forward to the future. I hope by the time my child is old enough to understand what’s going on, we would have been able to do something that everyone can be proud of.”

Jahwi is a prolific graffiti artist and photographer

Jahwi is a prolific graffiti artist and photographer

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The JAMES TOWN Experience

by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photos by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE

THE HUNTER KIDS - James Town | Accra

THE HUNTER KIDS – James Town | Accra

I stared in awe – my mind and soul were buried in what lay before me. In my mind’s eye it was so awesome I forgot someone was trying to get my attention. I was fixated with these kids designing kites; they played different roles in the design process by folding papers, sticks and threading kite.  One of them drew a prototype of the kite on the pavement with the oldest amongst them cutting and joining paper with broomsticks. The rest were obliged to tie the thread to the kites and test flights.

TOOTH BRUSH GUY- STROLLING GOATS-MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE-2013

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KWAKU ANANSE MAKES GHANA DEBUT

The director Akosua Adoma Owusu | photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

Director Akosua Adoma Owusu | photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

AKOSUA ADOMA OWUSU’s approach to Ghanaian folklore reconstructs the history of the mythical spider, Kwaku Ananse, in a way that forces a modern day interpretation of stories that have defined Ghanaian storytelling for eons. This Ananse story recreates the old legend through a transformative apparatus that bends and melds storytelling into a new history. Kwaku Ananse premieres in Ghana on July 4th at Alliance Francaise. The film stars Highlife music legend Koo Nimo, veteran actor Grace Omaboe, and Ghanaian indie music artist Jojo Abot, who plays the lead character in the film. Kwaku Ananse has screened at several international film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival and Berlinale. The film also won Best Short Film at the African Movie Academy Awards this Spring and has also been shortlisted at the French Cesar Academy.

Image

OWUSU chills in James Town | photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

Watch this space for full updates on KWAKU ANANSE’s director AKOSUA ADOMA OWUSU.Image

“Preserving Memory as Future”: An Interview with AIDA Muluneh

by Sionne Neely

Marie-Ange Bordas - "I was too young"

MARIE-Ange BORDAS: “I was too young” | photo courtesy of Addis Foto Fest 2012

AIDA MULUNEH is definitely a force to be reckoned with. The photographer and filmmaker heads up ADDIS FOTO FEST – a biannual, international photography festival in Addis Ababa that brings a diverse cadre of African photographers together to showcase their work [the third installation is Dec 2014]. In direct response to how Ethiopia has been popularly imagined by western development + media agencies since the 1980s, Aida is building an appreciation for photography among the Ethiopian public by re-working how photography takes shape in the country. The festival develops the capacity of emerging Ethiopian photographers to tell their own compelling stories.

I caught up with my fellow Howard U Film Dept. comrade on a recent trip to Accra. Here we rap about Addis Foto Fest and how emerging Ethiopian photographers are in a unique position to transform the country’s visual future.

AIDA Drives | photo courtesy of Addis Foto Fest 2012

Drive AIDA Drive | photo courtesy of Addis Foto Fest 2012

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A Shout-Out on Liberation [Sheroe Sci-Fi]

ANGELA DAVIS arrives for a court trial, April 1972 [via US Prison Culture]

ANGELA DAVIS arrives for a court trial, April 1972 [via US Prison Culture]

I fell in love with Angela Davis

In one fell swoop

I was 8 and bored that summer

My daily feen was a focused search through my parents’ awesomely Black book collection

If They Come in the Morning was a treasured favorite

That fro did me in

Her quiet fire spoke it all

Eyes steady, gait straight

Her radical be fly

Fly high, soul hi

Up up to the sky sky

That’s when the whole affair began

It endures for eva eva

Let it rip

Hands up for Prof. Davis

And a Black girl’s fantasia of possibility

SRN  |  03.13.13