August 2015

Accra 89plus Workshop

89plus

The 89plus research trip began in the West African city of Accra. Meet the twenty-one creative practitioners who came along to present their work at the 89plus workshop at Nubuke Foundation.

THE WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS

Elisabeth Efua Sutherland
Larry Amponsah
Neal Davids
Latifah Iddriss
Raphael Worlasi Langani
Gideon Appah
Adjo Kisser
Deryk Owusu Bempah
Teresa Meka
Isaac Opoku
Papa Oppong Bediako
Kwame Asante Agyare
Chessed Mensah
Abigail Dede Sagmokie Sakietey
Adam Mouayad Toutoungi
Caleb Hampton
Yaw Owusu
Francis Anim
Opoku Emmanuel Manu
Gideon Asmah
Yaw Kyei

Elisabeth Efua Sutherland 
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1991) Elisabeth's work focuses on the way culture shapes identity and development, and the impact of active cultural curation on individual and national attitudes.

"I like to talk about culture and identity and how where we've come from has shaped us as a people ... but also how individual experiences shape you as a human being."

Elisabeth Efua Sutherland, performance artist and educator

Larry Amponsah
(b. Kumasi, Ghana, 1989) Larry's work uses the Ghanaian calendar because of the link it has to all Ghanaians and how people all respond to them at the time they are being sold, being bought, being used and being disposed.

“I believe we are all connected, so the kinds of people that I create, you can’t really tell if they are humans, machines, animals or just a space. They are made of different parts ... they don’t belong to any form of classification.”

Larry Amponsah, visual artist

Neal Davids
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1992) Neal Davids is the creative director of DoNeal, a unisex fashion brand with collections that include beads, accessories and clothing garments in Accra, Ghana.

“I use life scenarios as my inspiration.”

Neal Davids, fashion and accessory designer

Latifah Iddriss
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1993) As an architect, artist and designer, Latifah Iddriss seeks to create art that speaks of its environment, people, time and culture; art that records, expresses and enhances.

“I source my inspiration from nature. I take pictures and then try to evolve this into my designs.”

Latifah Iddriss, architect, artist and designer

Raphael Worlasi Langani
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1990) Worlasi is multi-disciplinary artist working in mediums ranging from traditional to digital painting and animation. His practice also spans the world of music, as a songwriter who also scores films.

“Inner strength, that is what the message is all about.”

Raphael Worlasi Langani, visual artist and musician

Gideon Appah
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1989) Gideon's paintings draws on universal subjects and culture. His work embodies contemporary obsessions on sexual culture, life, glamour, anxiety, pop culture, race, sentiments and death, which evoke the low culture of the urban life of humanity in his country and beyond.

“Most of my pieces are very playful; when I do create the work, I want it to create the sense of a dissonant aesthetic.”

Gideon Appah, visual artist

Adjo Kisser
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1992) Adjo's playfully subversive experimental drawings question and subvert prescribed gender roles in Ghana. Her collage techniques are intended to create new transformative narratives, whilst exploring the use of fantasy and fiction as a means of escape.

“Usually cartoons are related [to] children; I wanted to use that playfulness, a certain childlike innocence, and yet it isn’t exactly innocent.”

Adjo Kisser, visual artist

Deryk Owusu Bempah
(b. Agogo, Ghana, 1991) Deryk’s work investigates the poetics of architecture. His photography considers architecture as embodiments of social and political histories.

"Much of our history as a nation has not being written or has been deliberately obscured or demolished for political reasons. The photographs I make serve to help me decipher some of these hidden yet crucial stories.”

Deryk Owusu Bempah, photographer

Teresa Meka
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1990) Creating and expressing through photography is a form of therapy for the self-taught photographer. Teresa works on subjects that have personal meaning and connection, as an exploration to understand her place in the world.

“I move around and change location a lot. It's like a search... These beds act as a multifunctional piece of furniture meant not just for the bedroom in Sudan. The photographs gives a sense of constant search for home, perhaps a presence that seems to be lacking.”

Teresa Meka, visual artist

Isaac Opoku
(b. Tema, Ghana, 1991) Isaac Opoku is a mixed-media artist inspired by a deep sense of interconnectedness with all life. His style, often Afrocentric and quite psychedelic, employs an abstract twist which seeks to engender a sense of wonder in the viewer's mind, challenge conventional perspectives, and demonstrate the power of imagination.

"People who inspire me challenge the conventional ways of seeing things. They make you wonder more about this life, than spaces you have existed in. We become very tied to societal ways of doing things, and these people make you think what is going here. Are things actually they way we assume they are, or is there something more?"

Isaac Opoku, visual artist

Papa Oppong Bediako
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1992) Papa describes himself as a fashion storyteller working with illustration, drawing, painting and garments. He believes that fashion isn't just about making clothes—fashion is about telling a story and creating desires.

A Celebration of Art is basically my mind at work. I wanted to merge two of my favourite things, fashion and art. So I thought let me paint graffiti, and then I picked fashion from the 50s for the silhouettes.”

Papa Oppong Bediako, illustrator and fashion designer

Kwame Asante Agyare
(b. Tema, Ghana, 1991) Exploring ideas of repetition and seriality, Kwame Asante Agyare's installations appropriate the idea of the iconic tin car. Evoking the bricolage-style children's toys once popular in Ghana, his large-scale installations act as a conduit to reflect on the common bonds, experiences and memories that bind Ghanaian society together.

“I question reality, originality and authenticity vis-a-vis mass production by asking can we stabilize an image? Is a copy of an image just a copy, or an original?”

Kwame Asante Agyare, visual artist

Chessed Mensah
(b. Mankesim, Ghana, 1989) Mensah loves that which comes to being through the mind, and hands. He uses poetry and drawing to express his understanding of life.

"...most of the things that I do, they come to me. I don’t search for them.”

Chessed Mensah, visual artist and poet

Abigail Dede Sagmokie Sakietey
(b. Suhum, Ghana, 1991) Classically trained in fashion design, Abigail has been designing garments for her clients since her school days. She strives to become a leading designer.
Adam Mouayad Toutoungii
(b. Los Angeles, USA, 1998) Adam is an animator who seeks to simultaneously entertain and educate audiences by creating awareness of issues and occurrences such as different lifestyles globally, and misconceptions about them. Utilising comedy is his way to establish a deeper connection with viewers.

“Comedy is a very important thing for me, it’s an easy way to express myself.”

Adam Mouayad Toutoungi, animator

Caleb Hampton
(b. Los Angeles, USA, 1991) Caleb is a photographer. Viewing it as a tool to gain perspective, as a way to see others who are also searching for a way in the world. The anger, pride, intimacy, peace or knowledge a photograph can communicate makes Hampton think that every human expression is a symptom of our common predicament—the search for how to be human in the world.

“I started out by mostly by taking street photographs, coming from the impulse of wanting to capture something about the city of Accra and my experience here.”

Caleb Hampton, visual artist

Owusu Yaw
(b. Kumasi, Ghana, 1992) Owusu’s one-pesewa coin installations appropriate Ghana’s nearly worthless loose change as structural material for raising questions on state policies, economic practices, and the meaning of independence.

"I became fascinated by artists using materials to produce something that could fetch some sort of financial resource. So I thought about the case where I would use the financial resource to produce the work. What then becomes of the work?"

Owusu Yaw, visual artist

Francis Anim
(b. Kumasi, Ghana, 1989) Through installation, Francis Anim's work engages with the importance of social function, and patterns in relation to what becomes real, and what isn't real in a given space.

“I work with this hyperrealistic idea of social patterns, where these mediums are supposed to represent or perform a particular function within a particular period of time, and after, the material loses this intensity."

Francis Anim, visual artist

Opoku Emmanuel Manu
(b. Kumasi, Ghana, 1990) Opoku Emmanuel Manu’s sylvan installations displace objects from their mundane settings into a forest of meanings. Navigating questions of labour and value against a backdrop of global transformations, the collection of things produces a unique logic born out of the artist’s understandings of materiality, history, space, and society.

"There is some kind of nostalgia, discarded items are put into a certain space ... It puts a lot of questions into people’s minds."

Opoku Emmanuel Manu, visual artist

Gideon Asmah
(b. Accra, Ghana, 1991) Gideon Asmah uses photography as a poetic language to disassociate from preconceptions and known forms. Textures of skin and shadow in soft black and white tableaux disorient a sense of time, place or subject. Charged objects shed political baggage, reborn newly blank.

"This thing that was created looking at the environment begins to be something that describes its environment. There is this interesting exchange ... that was what the hoodie had for me."

Gideon Asmah, visual artist

Yaw Brobbey Kyei
(b. Kumasi, Ghana, 1991) Yaw Brobbey Kyei's works are most characterised by silhouettes of the structures employed in the socio-economic space in Ghana. His interest lies in the social and economic structures, as well as systems that become apparatuses for the Ghanaian urban space.

“They are not just sales points but livelihoods. People are linked with them, selling within them, and also living within them.”

Yaw Brobbey Kyei, visual artist

Nubuke Foundation
The independent arts and culture institution located in East Legon hosted the 89plus Accra workshop in August 2015.
89plus, Another Africa
Credits: Story

The 89plus Accra workshop was initiated by 89plus co-curators Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets, in collaboration with publishing platform Another Africa, and its founder, Missla Libsekal. They were joined by 89plus art residency participant and South African emerging artist, Bogosi Sekhukhuni.

More info:
89plus.com
anotherafrica.net

This project was made possible with the support of Google Cultural Institute.

With thanks to the following individuals and institutions for their support:

Joe Addo, Kofi Agorsor, ACCRA [dot] ALT, Adwoa Amoah, Ato Annan, Foundation for Contemporary Art–Ghana, Mantse Aryeequaye, Katherine Dionysius, Nubuke Foundation, Beatrice Galilee, ANO Ghana, Benjamin LeBrave, Dr. Sionne Neely, Kafui Nyavor, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, Giovanna Olmos, Francis Nii Obodai Provencal, Robin Risken, Kofi Setordji, Michael Sowah, Nuku Studio, Odile Tevie, and Rikki Wemega-Kwawu.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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