By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
An exhibition of humorous artworks by Ghanaian pop artist Bright Ackwerh that confront the viewer with serious thoughts while making him / her chuckle, is currently underway at the Goethe-Institut in Accra.
Characterized by intrepid imagery, bold colours and imaginative interpretations, the critical pieces comment on contemporary geo-political crises in the world through a shrewd use of food culture.
Indeed, works on display are portrayed through a pragmatic, realistic, objective and entertaining approach thereby providing a harmonious appearance to the absurdities and contradictions of the world.
The artworks, which feature leaders of several countries in Africa, Europe, United States, Asia and British monarchs, are collective although the artist makes subtle attempts to individualize them while objectivizing emotions and gestures through sumptuous cuisine.
With exaggerated images of political and royal leaders, Ackwerh keeps geo-political, economic and social issues alive by stimulating a discourse on global problems that range from international trade, food imports / exports ratio and its effects on economies and consumers.
Undeniably, the works are quite distinctive / comprehensive – and plays with the misunderstanding of reality / idealism as well as authenticity/ imitation – while showcasing the role of humour in shaping human thought.
Ackwerh collaborated with the South African curator Ruth Simbao in a 2018 project that has metamorphosed into an itinerant exhibition, which started at the Raw Spot Gallery in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Educated at the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi), he is inspired by popular culture while creating works that challenge misplaced power of diverse geo-political events.
The exhibition, which ends on Friday August 9, was opened Dr. Joseph Oduro-Frimpong, Director of the Centre for African Popular Culture, Ashesi University, Berekuso. Goethe-Institut Ghana is supporting the exhibition.