An exhibition of beads and leather works by Kati Torda and Gill Quarcoopome that tend to push boundaries ended recently at the Nubuke Foundation in Accra.
With meticulous precision, Torda’s works are bold, colourful, stylish and ambitious. Indeed, they comprise a dramatic fusion of Ashanti bronze / Dogon pendants, recycled glass, antic European trade beads, circular granite stones and a cool fusion of leather and suede.
Her installation of beads is a mass of colour with beads arranged in circular formations. At first glance they appear spontaneous, however a careful observation reveals a creative sequence and expertise that dates back to the early 1990s.
With some works hanging on framed canvasses and improvised mannequins alongside loose hanging cloths, they evoke and radiate an atmosphere of active calm as exquisite designs majestically confront the viewer in all directions.
Full of symbolic language, her work is a curious mix of traditional and contemporary – indeed they generate a calm effect on contemporary art in Ghana while resonating the roots that underpin the sanctity of bead jewelry.
Designs by Quarcoopome employ the use of geometric shapes in diverse ways. With a number of them embellished with gold weights, her works are both evocative and fashionable while encompassing diverse cultures.
Comprising belts, necklaces, bangles, purses and bags among other wearable items, she sometimes adorns them with glass, animal horns and bronze works, while other pieces, which are cut in various shapes, hang alongside paintings and mirrors.
Quarcoopome, who was attracted to leather in 1980, has worked with Torda on numerous projects and group exhibitions since 1990. The exhibition, which is titled “Negative to Positive”, is their first collaboration.