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

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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CHALE WOTE 2013: Q+A INFO SHEET

Strolling Goats - James Town - April 2013 - Accra dot Alt - Samuahedited

James Town Community Organizer SAMUAH HANSON in Red | by Selorm Jay

1. Which part of James Town will the festival be held?

The two-day festival will take place along a 10-minute walking route on High Street between the Ga Mashie Development Agency [three buildings to the right of the Light House] down to the old Kings Way building [next to Ussher Fort].

2. Where do I park my car?
There is ample parking available inside James Town, particularly any side street or parallel street to High Street. Please note that High Street is a one-way street and will be closed to vehicular traffic on both days of the festival.

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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.

 

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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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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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 OFFICIAL CHALE WOTE 2013 Poster

CHALE WOTE 2013 official poster

CHALE WOTE 2013 official poster

Hot off the presses!

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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