Saturday, September 8, 2007
Celebrating Ghana’s cultural excellence
GHANA is a “site of cultural excellence” but there is low recognition of this in Ghana says a new non-governmental organization, Art in Social Structures (AISS). It has therefore set itself the task of putting things right, beginning with two cultural projects next week.
This first is an art exhibition on September 13 and the second is a workshop for journalists on art criticism, Senam Okudzeto, founder and president of AISS, told Times Weekend.
Giving the background to the projects, AISS explains that during this year of Ghana’s 50th Independence Anniversary, one fact which has emerged globally is an acknowledgement, particularly by the world’s press that many of the foremost cultural producers in the world are Ghanaians.
Two examples are that: “One of the popular contemporary architects, David Adjaye, is a Ghanaian”, and, “The most lauded African Artist, El Anatsui, who makes remarkable textile-like sculptures from recycled bottle tops and rusted tins, is a Ghanaian”.
AISS notes that there are a host of popular musicians, artists, writers, authors and architects whose work abroad continues to advertise Ghana as a site of cultural excellence. These individuals, such as architect Joe Addo, Painter, Owusu Ankomah and Booker prize-winning Author and Architect Leslie Lokko are internationally lauded as global leaders in culture, but remain virtually unknown in the country of their origin.
“Even more distressing, is that many local tenants who have remained in Ghana, such as artists Agblade Glover, Victor Butler and Kofi Settogee receive little attention from the local media in Ghana, and so find themselves arguably better respected abroad than in the communities that they strive to serve.
“It is urgent that Ghanaian citizens are made aware of the achievements of their artists both at home and abroad”.
This is what prompted the formation of AISS, Ms. Okudzeto explained. The aim was to encourage a creative and practical discourse about art and contemporary life. Vice presidents are Godfred Donkor and Smruthi Gargi Eswar.
“AISS and its members believe that the role of art is fundamental to all civil societies. “It is important that a country’s creative resources are preserved and nurtured for its own growth and for the future generations”.
This NGO is a unique organization, she told T.W. as it is the only one of its kind, founded by, funded and run solely by African artists.
AISS’s many artists members are successful and international active; they joined the organization in order to demonstrate their social consciousness through arts of charitable giving and educational mentoring programmes.
At present AISS organizes exhibitions, cultural and educational exchange programmes and university scholarships for student in Ghana.
For its first two cultural projects in Ghana, AISS will be presenting first, an art exhibition, by artists from Ghana and abroad, resident in Accra, taking place on Thursday September 13, from 6:00pm onward, at the Alliance Française.
It is open to the public from Friday, September 14 to Sunday 16.
The second project will be a “Journalists’ Art Criticism Workshop” designed to encourage professional journalists with little or no art training to become engaged with Visual Culture, “it will be very intensive but also lively and informative”, she said.
The Ghanaian Times - Saturday, September 8, 2007 Page: 11