By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Nubuke Foundation in Accra is currently hosting inventive artworks by two female artists -Lois Arde Acquah and Theresah Ankomah that re-index craft work and stretch intricate monochrome patterns.
Both artists have over the years been generating emotions, liberating personal interrogations, encouraging solo and collective acts while asserting radical new approaches to contemporary art.
Undeniably, they equally explore identity, self-expression, authenticity, geo-politics, trade and gender through a combination of diverse materials that recall the skills of ancient African craftsmen while opening up new paradigms of representation.
Noted for hand drawings of intricate monochrome patterns on various surfaces to explore monotonous actions, Arde-Acquah created a pristine forest in the new gallery of the foundation. She cut “millions of soft black materials in similar forms, which virtually inundated the walls, ceiling, floors and staircases.
In a performance that followed the opening ceremony, Arde-Acquah engaged art lovers present with diminutive movements which were replaced by hysterical movements and frenzied ones as she swirls and virtually drowns in swathes and mounds of synthetic leather.
She placed herself under pressure, monotony and difficulty while posing many questions to viewers as they consciously or unconsciously joined in this vulnerable exercise that ended with the artist pushing herself to the limits of self-punishment.
Employing kenaf baskets from the onion traders at wholesale markets in Accra and elsewhere, Ankomah’s interaction with these materials and the ecosystems that produce them is an expedition that have been exploring gender issues, geo-politics, trade tensions and power.
Her works are the direct result of a voyage of curiosity and exploration that are progressively evolving around the intricacies rooted within the weaving practice. Indeed, the process of creating complexities and exposing embedded meanings by the interlocking of raw materials enable her to transmit messages that are spearheaded by weaving.
In recent years, her encounters with the public / installations explore the infinite possibilities of craft object and processes within a contextual discourse of dual-citizenship and cross-cultural relationship on the basis of trade.
Titled “Look at We”, the exhibition ends on Sunday August 15, 2021.
Pix – Elolo Bosoka