2/28: TAWIAH x The Talk Party Series

Meet us at Friday's Talk Party, 6:30 - 9:30pm

Meet us at Friday’s Talk Party, 6:30 – 9:30pm

Last February, we held a special Talk Party Series with Ghanaian-British singer and songwriter, TAWIAH. At that time she had just wrapped production on her much-feened for mixtape, FREEdom DROP, and we gave the Accra fans a rare premiere before the rest of the world heard it. We also got a chance to rap with Tawiah via Skype and were even privy to an intimate live performance.

For those of us who saw Tawiah tear the stage apart at IND!E FUSE 2012, we have been patiently waiting to resurrect the magic of that night’s performance. Well wait no more, Accra city people. Tawiah’s back in the building and she will be representing at this Friday, Feb. 28th’s Talk Party. Tawiah will share a bit of her audiovisual exploration with us plus you’ll get to ask her all the questions you want. We also get a chance to hear some of her new material.

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THE ACCRA PHOTO SAFARI

Story by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photography by SELORMJAY 

Tacitus aka GaGreekGod says hello

Tacitus aka GaGreekGod says Hello.

Growing up, Tacitus Nana Yabani aka the Ga Greek God, was always fascinated seeing himself in photos. A curiosity to know how photos were made led to the dream of becoming a professional photographer. But as a street child, he had no idea how he was going to make this happen. With determination and perseverance, Tacitus didn’t let his vision go to waste. Like the saying goes, “little by little the eagle builds its nest,” Tacitus learned photography by teaching himself and developing his own techniques. Small small, Tacitus became the photographer he always envisioned he’d be.   Continue reading

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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The TALK PARTY SERIES is Back Oct. 25th

904101_10151643903142051_156726302_oWe are back this Friday, October 25th with a special Talk Party Series.

Chale, we’re on a high – right on the heels of finishing the 3rd annual CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival and getting ready for the megamusic fest – the 4th annual IND!E FUSE on December 12-14th, 2013.

Art events are buzzing all across the capital city and we’re excited to be a part of the transition. Join us as we brainstorm more ideas on how to sustain Accra as an art-active city. How are you contributing to the shift? Let us know.

We are also screening a remarkable documentary – Hip Hop: The New World Order – and following the film we will have a Q+A with the director, Muhammida El Muhajir, who’s taking the film on a world tour. We’ll also rap with a few Accra-based creatives [Kobby Graham, Ato Annan and Meche Korrect, just to name a few] who have a thing or two to say about how art and music can make movements.

Here’s a little taste of what the film’s all about:

“The documentary, Hip Hop: The New World Order, affirms Hip Hop culture as a powerful vehicle for self-expression by youth around the world. Shot in 8 international cities (Tokyo, Havana, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro & Johannesburg) over a span of 3 years (1998-2000), the project embarks on the groundbreaking mission to unearth the practice and business of Hip Hop culture worldwide.”

Ice cold drinks on tap. Cool folks chillin. Live music + jam session with DJ KEYZZZ. #free

See you there!

The TALK PARTY SERIES
Friday, October 25, 2013
6:00 – 9:30PM
Passions Premium Restaurant
Osu Ring Way, Accra
*2 streets behind Country Kitchen and 1 street behind Pippa’s Gym; orange building with driveway and kebab stand in front across from a children’s nursery.

CHALE WOTE 2013 Site Map x Program Schedule

Check out the site map for CHALE WOTE 2013 this Saturday, September 7th and Sunday, September 8th, 2013 from 10AM – 9PM in James Town [double-click to enlarge]:

Chale Wote 2013 Site MapTo see the full schedule of activities over the 2-day festival, click here. 

This year for Chale Wote, we’re creating new visions of African folklore. We all will be characters in a compelling set of stories called the Chale Wote Street Art Festival. What character will you be? Dress up in your own DIY costume and party with us in the streets.

See you in James Town over the weekend.

 

CHALE WOTE 2013: Futuristic Art Made in Accra

by Nii Ayertey Aryeh

TRUST HIM by Nolan Dennis | Visiting Artist [JoBurg SA] | CHALE WOTE 2013

TRUST HIM by Nolan Dennis | Visiting Artist [JoBurg SA] | CHALE WOTE 2013

Reimagining African folklore by creating exciting and futuristic versions is the theme for CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival 2013. Everything points to a classic show this time around. The festival has over the last few years challenged the music and art space in Accra in a super-funky urban way.

For the first two years, the festival was organized as a whole day’s event. It is a major attraction for tourists, art lovers, musicians, graffiti + mural artists, poets, and musicians – and basically anyone who appreciates or has a curious mind for art made in Accra.  This year the free festival will be running for two (2) days at its signature venue, James Town, on September 7th and 8th, 10am – 9pm.

Fresh Digital Art by Frame 14 [Ghana]

Fresh Digital Art by Frame 14 [Ghana]

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CHALE WOTE Swings Back into James Town

SAVE the DATE poster: CHALE WOTE 2013

SAVE the DATE poster: CHALE WOTE 2013

We’re working our way to CHALE WOTE 2013 – a massive festival jam in James Town – on September 7th and 8th.

200 artists. 2 days. Too much free fun.

This year’s theme is to Re-imagine African Folklore by creating exciting and futuristic versions of communal stories that will magically come alive on the streets of James Town. We’ll have it all on High Street from live music, experimental theater and spoken word, extreme sport stunts, dance flash mobs, street fashion parades, graffiti murals and crazy art installations to a film festival, international food and fashion marketplace and even a masquerade procession.

To see a taste of what you’ll experience at CHALE WOTE 2013, check out last year’s highlight video:

 

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates on CHALE WOTE 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

The TALK PARTY SERIES

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The TALK PARTY SERIES

Come out to the TALK PARTY SERIES tonite as we celebrate TAWIAH’s new mixtape “FREEDOM DROP” with a listening session. We will also be premiering her second single, “FACES” – directed by Mantse Aryeequaye, produced by REDD Kat Pictures + ACCRA [dot] ALT.

TAWIAH wants to know what you think about her new album and video! We’ll have a Skype call session with the singer/songwriter in London and you’ll have a chance to share your thoughts.

As lovers of good music, the party wouldn’t be complete without the DUSTLYVE Booth’s Kobby Graham + DJ Kev keeping buttorses shaking on the dance floor all night. So come out and let’s get live together.

We’re collecting books to support the Community Creative Center. Be kind and bring a book to donate for this worthy cause.

Catching YELLOW FEVER

Yellow Fever: TRAILER from Ng'endo Mukii on Vimeo.

Graduate student Ng’endo Mukii gave folks at the Royal College of Arts in London pause for the cause with her thesis film, Yellow Fever. The ten-minute film is an exquisite exploration of race, gender and beauty regimens told through the intimate perspectives of her Kenyan mother and young niece.

The film mixes media into what Mukii calls an “almost schizophrenic self-visualization,” employing her study in animation, photography and ethnography. The result is a sincere and stunning composition that examines how African women think about skin bleaching, hair extensions, body image and western pop culture.

The filmmaker says this about Yellow Fever:

I am interested in the concept of skin and race, and what they imply; in the ideas and theories sown into our flesh that change with the arc of time. I believe skin and the body, are often distorted into a topographical division between reality and illusion. The idea of beauty has become globalised, creating homogenous aspirations, and distorting people’s self-image across the planet.

NG’ENDO MUKII

Mukii is definitely on our radar. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

THE TRIPTYCH TRIPS OUT BROOKLYN

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by ROBIN RISKIN for ACCRA [dot] ALT RADIO

SANFORD BIGGERS: I am actually a Japanese artist wearing the mask of a Black man manufactured by a White person to look like your idea of a rapper.

The Brooklyn Museum was buzzing on Thursday night, May 24th. Creatives from all over New York City were decked out in their flyest Afro-prints and chunky glasses, gathered for the screening of The Triptych, the latest documentary film series by Terence Nance, presented by Afro-Punk Pictures and the Weeksville Heritage Center.

TERENCE NANCE: When you need something done, you often look to hire people, but you forget that your friends are capable, creative people, and often make the best team.

You may know Nance, Triptych’s Director, and Shawn Peters, Director of Photography, from their collaboration with Blitz the Ambassador on the short film Native Sun (2011), a 20-minute audio-visual treat shot in Ghana. The two also directed the recent Sundance premiere, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. The Triptych offers a bit more narrative than these abstract delights, but is equally wacky, magical, and visually delicious.

WANGECHI MUTU: The Kikuyu religion that spoke to me was overtaken by Christianity. You had to be Christian in order to be a part of modernity.

The Triptych highlights the work of artists Sanford Biggers, Wangechi Mutu, and Barron Claiborne. The twenty-minute assemblages of interviews, artworks, photographs, text, and abstraction blur the line between life and art, reality and representation. The three profiles, works of art in themselves, are clever, challenging, and laugh-out-loud funny.

BARRON CLAIBORNE: I know how people see me and I know I’m nothing like it. Blackness is an illusion.

CLAIBORNE: “Person” comes from “persona” which means mask…. I’m not really at war with anything. I don’t really care. I just want to do what I want.

BIGGERS: Black black black quack post-black. The way blackness is scrutinized on a daily basis, it fucks your head up. It’s not about the mask, but what’s behind it. The duality ingrained in society and the various avatars within yourself.

The conversations invite us to explore the experiences and observations behind Biggers’s subversive performance and installation pieces, Mutu’s mythical collage creatures, and Claiborne’s beautiful and wry photographs.

WANGECHI MUTU: My creations are mythical, magical, beyond human.

BIGGERS: As an artist, I find history like a sculptural material – malleable – the meanings reassembled to make new features.

The shorts are the first in what promises to be a vibrant and significant series. Nance and Claiborne, Co-Director, conceived the project together, expanded to include Mutu and Biggers, and will continue to chronicle the work, lives, and practices of some of the freshest visual artists today.

NANCE, BIGGERS, MUTU + CLAIBORNE CHOP SHOP

After the films closed, the wit and humor continued through a Q&A led by Ghanaian journalist and writer Esther Armah. The group of four friends could not stop laughing, even while engaging complex racial and socio-historical theory. They touched upon commonalities in the way they embrace grayness and reject binaries of black and white. They addressed the strong family influences that have pushed them in their work, and the challenges they still face in the art market despite their success. Claiborne said that while artists like Damien Hirst have mastered how to monetize their work, many of those who have been labeled as Black artists are still figuring it out. As the audience geared up for applause, Claiborne winked, “Now everyone should pay me $100 on their way out, meet you in the lobby.”

FILMMAKER SAM KESSIE x RAHIEM OF GRANDMASTER FLASH

As if the three gorgeous films and a brilliant Q&A were not enough, the after-party did not disappoint. The artists and filmmakers stuck around to chat with audience-members, while Eclectic Method projected rap video remixes against the glass entrance. Claiborne kept his camera going the whole night, making live art portraits in front of his signature bright print screen.

YASIIN BEY aka THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS MOS DEF

Celebrity spottings included Mos Def a.k.a. Yasiin Bey, Rahiem of Grandmaster Flash, Ghanaian filmmaker Sam Kessie and Rwandan electropop singer Iyadede aka “That Girl from Africa.”

IYADEDE, SAM KESSIE + ROBIN RISKIN POSE UP

Good thing Brooklyn’s finest photographers were out to capture the fabulous evening. It was one dope night of art, film, and music…and should be just the first of many.

*photos + words by Robin Riskin aka @rriskinitall