13 Sep 2013 • Interview
The Black Stars of Ghana: Art District
One of the accusations most frequently levelled at the contemporary art industry is its unfailing propensity for Eurocentric trends and discourses. Safia Dickersbach, an art market practitioner hailing from Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, is eager to overturn these complacent assumptions about visual arts from regions around the world that are constantly underrepresented. Founder of SHOWCASE, a platform for artists to network, collaborate and advance their careers in general, Dickersbach is currently based in Berlin. She also serves as the Public Relations Director of Artfacts.net, a leading online database for modern and contemporary art.
Working with Bureau Africa, a YouTube channel that aims to delineate artistic traditions across the African continent, SHOWCASE has launched a series of film interviews with Ghanaian contemporary artists in a bid to introduce viewers to their astonishing vision and compelling ideas about visual art. These artists include Professor Ablade Glover, Kofi Setordji, Larry Otoo, Wiz Kudowor, and Marigold Akufor-Addo, amongst many others. Harnessing the power of the Internet as a medium that democratises knowledge and creates accessibility, this joint collaboration will see a new episode in the series being broadcast every Monday both on This Is Africa and Bureau Africa TV’s Youtube channel.
Dickersbach explains the choice of Ghana for the first country on SHOWCASE’s tour through the African countries: “Contemporary art in Ghana rests upon a rich history of artistic tradition... The classical art traditions of the Ghanaian historic kingdoms of the Ashanti (who are a part of the Akan people), the Ewe and other tribes still influence modern artistic expression without preventing today’s artists from exploring both established and uniquely personal styles of contemporary art production... By making use of this rich ancestral heritage on the one hand, while creating art in an independent personal style on the other, present-day Ghanaian art has established a regional reputation that goes far beyond its home country and has moved the contemporary artists in Ghana out of the shadow of the global art scene."
Catch previous and upcoming episodes here.
Images courtesy of Safia Dickersbach.