By John Owoo
An exhibition of artworks by final year students of the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi) that seek to enquire into the ambiguities of the 21st century is currently underway at the Museum of Science and Technology in Accra.
Touching past anthropocentric visions, the two dozen artists / lecturers and guest artists, delve into physical and tangible evaluations and move down to the level of the earth, animals, plants, winds, machines, sounds and sciences.
Paying attention to small objects – particles, subtleties, shadows and stains, they re-orient perceptions and positions of experience through potentialities, impossibilities and contradictions that bedevil current generations throughout the world.
With a variety of evocating installations, the exhibition revealed new sensibilities through communal and collaborative systems and processes that enable residual entities gain new significance and fresh life.
Monumental installations of jute sacks by Ibrahim Mahama inundate almost the entire edifice of the museum. Indeed, a colossal 45,000 square feet of stitched jute drape the building, which question issues relating to humanity, labour and capital.
Works by Elolo Bosoka employ used charcoal sacks, recycled canvas, rusted tomato tins strands of rope and flour bags that reveal a quality of childlike wonder alongside rough and spontaneous craftsmanship. Belying his pieces are rigorous scientific underpinnings.
A gigantic wheelchair comprising metal and crushed rocks by Chartwell Cofie is rather strong, simple and yet complex. By carefully selecting materials, Cofie appears to wax freely on humanity’s psychological, spiritual and social conditions.
Emmanuel Azumah tends to punch holes at the institutionalized art world’s treatment of sacred objects with a rather provocative installation of a discarded toilet bowl, car tires, basins, gas stoves, computer screens and a fufu pestle.
Environmental installations of hundreds of metal plates fashioned into masks by Edwin Bodjawah are nearly flattened despite their steep perspectives. With over 1,500 masks scattered all over the museum, Bodjawah work make subtle comments on communality in a modern postcolonial society.
Yaw Owusu’s equally gigantic installation of “millions” of one pesewa coins appears to challenge and question the relevance of laws on defacing currencies. Conspicuously hanging from the ceiling, the large round metal on which Owusu carefully pasted the coins, also comment on economic policies / actions and inactions by the politicians.
Yet another installation by Emmanuel Opoku Manu recalls the damage to the environment. Hanging loosely on walls, they are like votive items with varying degree of sizes and shapes. Acquired from family and friends, the items, which include chairs, sacks, shoes, cookers and televisions among others touch on a variety of subjects.
Curated by Robin Riskin, Selom Kludjie, Patrick Okanta Ankrah and Mavis Tetteh-Ocloo, the exhibition, which ends on Friday July 17, is being supported by the French Embassy in Accra, Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, Nubuke Foundation, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, DPi and Black Star Line.