By John Owoo
(Accra – Ghana)
A replica of a sculptural installation by Serge Attukwei Clottey, which is currently on show in Coachella Valley, California (USA) was recently put on show at La, a suburb of Accra that overlooks the Gulf of Guinea.
Titled “Wishing Well”, the installation, which comprise cutting and stitching of yellow jerry cans (aka Kufour Gallons), the display forms part of a larger project dubbed “Afrogallonism”, which has persistently and consistently explored the relationship between these containers and consumption.
The Wishing Well installation alludes to wells, which most rural communities in developing countries rely on for their daily activities while making subtle references to colonialism, global movements for environmental justice and the infamous practice of galamsey (illegal mining).
Clottey, who works in a variety of media that cut across installation, sculpture and performance that deal with the broader influence of colonialism in Africa, equally elevates these jerry cans into a powerful symbol of Ghana’s informal economy and its classification by Bretton Woods institutions and commerce.
Through a complex web of cutting, drilling, stitching and melting discarded jerry cans, Clottey’s sculptural installations are bold collections that also act as a means of analysis into the languages of form, constructs and abstraction.
While upholding the status of plastic as an important artistic medium and provoking reflections about consumption patterns, his stunningly composed wall installations made up of plastic pieces and copper wires also make references to the issue of recycling.
Undeniably, Clottey’s artworks are transformed into the annals of cultural archives, which effectively recall the long drawn out period of water shortages that compelled the use of these cans.