By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
An art performance by Martin Toloku, Lena Czerniawska and Emilio Gordoa recently turned the Ussher Fort Prison in Accra into an artistic den with a magnetic performance that effectively questioned the idea of time and space while highlighting political and environmental issues.
In a performative and installative work during the 2021 edition of Chale Wote Street Art Festival, which was virtual owing to restrictions relating to Covid 19, Toloku evoked memories of past events that showed discarded electronic machinery feeding into our human genetic system.
Clad in a surreal costume alongside a series of improvised dance and body movements, he questioned the decomposition of speed and lamented on the robotization of death while inferring that civilization is a deadly toy that brings excitement, change and demise.
Indeed, he bemoaned the presence of industrial and technological machinery in our everyday activities while an ambiance coordinated by Mexican musician Emilio Gordoa, guided the “decayed” robotic body of Toloku.
Through a series of improvised dance and body movements, he created an accident scene, whilst Polish artist Lena Czerniawska forcefully unwrapped an untold story through a series of drawings on a scrap automobile, which was commandeered into the prison.
The apparent consequence of modernity is represented by a lonely garbage dump as well as a broken window, torn clothes, precipitously aged shoes, a crushed car and a broken phone, which are part of items mankind leaves behind thereby becoming part of a huge garbage dump.
Undeniably, it is evident that the ghosts of modernity wander through landfills, get entangled in cables and plastic bags among others, which signify the downfall of humanity while exposing greed and selfishness.
Chale Wote Street Art Festival is an alternative platform that brings art, music, dance and performance out of the galleries and onto the streets of James Town, a suburb of Accra. The 2021 edition was largely virtual and curtailed owing to Covid 19 limitations.