Black Stars of Ghana, Art District (The)

  • Black Stars of Ghana, Art District (The)
Genre : Biography
Type : Documentary series
Original title :
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2013
Format : Short
Running time : 14 (in minutes)

A series of video interviews and talks which explore the depth, vibrancy, beauty, vision and diversity of contemporary art from Ghana through conversations with locally prominent and recognized visual artists. These film interviews provide a platform for the artists who are widely considered as shaping the contemporary art scene of modern Ghana to speak out about their creative background, about their life in general, their art and their experiences with the art scene at home and abroad. Instead of defining contemporary African art from a Western perspective, the contemporary art scene in Ghana talks for itself.

Contemporary art in Ghana rests upon a rich history of artistic tradition reaching back hundreds of years into the past. The classical art tradition of the Ghanaian historic kingdoms of the Ashanti, the Ewe and other tribes still influences modern artistic expression without preventing today's artists to explore both established and uniquely personal styles of contemporary art production. Making use of a rich ancestral heritage on the one hand, but creating art in an independent personal style on the other hand, the representatives of present-day Ghanaian art have established a regional reputation beyond their home country and are about to move the contemporary arts scene in Ghana out of the shadows of the global art market.

In different videos this film project explores the life and works of Prof. Ablade Glover, Kofi Setordji, Wiz Kudowor, Marigold Akufo-Addo, Larry Otoo, Gabriel Eklou, Samuel Kane Kwei, Kwadwo Ani, Kobina Nyarko, Ndugu, Alfred Mensah and others.

In its first season the project consists of eight episodes featuring different contemporary visual artists from Ghana, the first stop on a tour across the African continent. This is the list of the currently available episodes of „The Black Stars of Ghana - Art District":

A film by Safia Dickersbach

Germany / Tanzania / Ghana, 2013, Film series.

Editing: David Picard
Camera: Enes Hakan Tokyay
Music: Ayo Nelson-Homiah - "Express"

1st Episode: Wiz Kudowor.
While drawing upon the rich heritage of artistic tradition and cultural symbols in Ghana's history, Wiz Kudowor developed his uniquely personal style of artistic expression with reminiscence of Cubist and Futurist shapes and designs.

2nd Episode: Prof. Ablade Glover
Ablade Glover combines a decades-long teaching career in art education culminating in the position of Dean of the College of Art and Head of the Department of Art Education at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi with an even more successful career as a visual artist which turned him today into a kind of elder statesman for the contemporary Ghanaian art scene.

3rd Episode: Gabriel Eklou
Gabriel Eklou worked as a qualified accountant before finding personal and professional fulfilment as a full-time painter. Gabriel Eklou's trademark are slim and stretched tall imaginary figures with very long legs walking majestically and proud through an African landscape. He describes the African continent as the "beginning and the base" of his artistic work.

4th Episode: Kobina Nyarko
Kobina Nyarko has become well-known for his paintings depicting countless tiny fishes on large-scale canvasses. Kobina Nyarko, who belongs to a 3rd generation of post-independence Ghanaian artists, organizes these numerous colourful fishes in compositions which are reminiscent of abstract expressionism.

5th Episode: Marigold Akufo-Addo
Marigold Akufo-Addo, who is probably the best-known female contemporary painter in Ghana, is widely known for her specific painting technique of tiny squares, each measuring no more than a tenth of an inch. Those minuscule square boxes form the structural basis of her paintings which deconstruct different art forms, textures and hues from the West African region and reposition and recombine those traditional influences in fluid forms of dialogue with modern styles of artistic expression.

6th Episode: Kwadwo Ani
Kwadwo Ani is known for showing people with big eyes in situations of urban and street life or social interaction addressing issues of injustice, social inequalities and human behaviour in a way which follows the idea of portraying the world around him through the big, wide open eyes of a child. His unique painting style reminiscent of naive art or naive painting contrasts problems of contemporary society with the honesty and sincerity of a childlike observer.

7th Episode: Larry Otoo
Larry Otoo, who once labelled himself a "contemporary traditionalist", uses paintings to document contemporary social life in a West African environment and visualizes the conditio humana as he sees it in everyday Ghanaian life. Described as a "social commentator" rather than a political artist, Larry Otoo combines and alternates between realistic, expressionist or abstract styles in his colourful works that create their visual effect not only by a carefully balanced, yet powerful colouration, but also through their contextual rhythm and surface texture.

8th Episode: Kofi Setordji
Kofi Setordji is Ghana's foremost contemporary sculptor whose perhaps best-known work is "Genocide," a multi- dimensional installation that he created in memory of the countless anonymous victims of the genocide in Rwanda and as a monument reminding us of the ever-repeating circle of similar atrocities around the world. Kofi Setordji works with different materials like wood, metal, bronze, stone, terracotta and paint to create sculptures commenting on historical, social and political issues. Kofi Setordji founded and runs Arthaus, a global residency for practising artists who temporarily stay and work in this building in the outskirts of Accra, and he is a member of the board of the Nubuke Foundation which promotes Ghanaian art, culture and heritage.

Bureau Africa & SHOWCASE
Contact: Eda Aden


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  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

With the support of