By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Australia based Ghanaian choreographer / dancer Lucky Lartey has in recent years being creating waves with his performative interventions – which often end up generating imaginary vehicles – that tend to assist or prolong human movement.
Employing PVC tapes, digitally printed cut-outs and the famous / infamous “Ghana Must Go” synthetic bags, he creates simple but powerful imagery, which are charged with manifold narratives that grab the attention of audiences.
One of his pieces titled “In Transit” formalizes three large-scale scenes in which a man is sailing on a boat, riding a bicycle and pushing a car. Indeed, the overriding child-like quality of the tape-drawings, along with the low fidelity of the prints, actually sets the mood and operational context of the production.
Undeniably, the child-like aesthetic approach he engages – may be associated with the absence of detail – a feature that actually transmits information while enabling easy deciphering. Consequently, the absence of detail in “In Transit” vividly signifies an act of resistance.
Characterized by circular and anti-clockwise movements preceding each work, they reinforce the idea of resistance to its readability – indeed, a resistance against the Western notion of “reading” the work alongside its systematic disempowerment of it.
Lartey’s performative intercessions seek to position mankind within an imaginary space where universal and personal issues can be examined – not in their separateness or in isolation – but in our ability to experience them.
His choreographic works are at the forefront of exploring intercultural dance practices as part of the contemporary dance space while contributing to an ongoing dialogue regarding intercultural dance practice and its meaning in Australia.
It is equally informed by themes of social justice and explorations of what it means to live as a person of African descent in a Western culture. His current investigations include the exotification of non-Western bodies and subjectivities, the relationship between hip hop culture and African oral traditions and environmental issues such as plastic consumption and waste.
Lartey, who has performed in Europe, Asia, Australia and other countries in Africa, is the founder and director of Tuumatu Creativity, a music and dance festival, which is held annually in Accra as part of events ushering in Christmas festivities and celebrations.
Art Gallery of NSW