A multimedia exhibition that celebrates the cultural exchange between the UK and Ghana’s creative communities opens its doors to the public in London during Ghana’s independence anniversary month.
Gallery 1957’s ‘Constellations’ exhibition coincides with the Gallery’s eight-year anniversary and aims to bring together artists, curators, writers, and filmmakers from both sides of the Atlantic.
The exhibition will first showcase in London under the title Constellations – Part 1: Figures on Earth & Beyond from 14 March until 25 May.
A second segment of the exhibition is scheduled in Accra and aims to focus on Gallery 1957’s exhibition space in Accra, in dialogue with its surroundings. Further details of this second segment have yet to be confirmed.
The first part of the exhibition, named Constellations – Part 1: Figures on Earth & Beyond, explores the interconnectivity between the creative communities and how they break the boundaries of time and geography.
The exhibition hopes to challenge our human inclination to centre ourselves, and instead repositions us as part of a larger ecosystem. The aim is to critically examine human-made structures of power, memory, and agency within their wider environments through concepts of art history, spirituality, technology, and science fiction, a Gallery 1957 spokesperson said.
Artists participating in this segment of the exhibition for the first time include Adelaide Damoah. Her work brings to memory the relationship between colonialism and ancestry.
She visually references landmarks near Gallery 1957’s London space, such as the equestrian statue of Baron Robert Napier at Queen’s Gate, which she combines with images of her Ghanaian family and Victorian lace.
Other artists include: Alberta Whittle, Andrew Pierre Hart, Ayesha Feisal, Ayomide Tejuoso (Plantation), Denyse Gawu-Mensah, Henry Hussey, Lisa C Soto, Phoebe Boswell, Rashaad Newsome, and Sarah Meyohas.
The list also covers long-term collaborators and artists in residence, including Johannes Phokela, Larry Amponsah, Yaa Asantewaa Art Prize winner Lois Selasie Arde-Acquah, Modupeola Fadugba, and Zak Ové.
The exhibition will be curated by independent curator Katherine Finerty, curator and artist Tracy Naa Koshie Thompson, and Compound House Gallery founder Nuna Adisenu-Doe.
Andrew Pierre Hart will open the exhibition on 14 March with an atmospheric soundscape performance. The exhibition responds to current and past issues related to Ghana and wider issues and discussions across the African continent.
The soundscape fuses experimental sounds and productions with more recognisable sound, music, and voices to explore these ideas.
As part of Constellations, Part 1: Figures On Earth & Beyond, curator Katherine Finerty and artist Larry Amponsah will organise a series of interactive collage workshops.
These workshops focus on collective-making and world-building. The sessions will take place throughout the duration of the exhibition, and exact timing and locations will be confirmed as soon as possible.
Some workshops will be open to the public, while closed sessions will take place in partnership with educational institutions and charitable organisations, including Gallery 1957’s neighbour The Royal College of Art.
To mark the closing of the exhibition, Gallery 1957 will host a performance on 23 May with artist Adelaide Damoah. She will take the audience on an audiovisual journey, exploring how we can establish a new ecology by reconnecting with each other and with nature.
Rashaad Newsome will present a special edition of Self Inventions, part of the LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives (Collection III) initiative.
This work uses augmented reality (AR) to explore representation and history across monuments. This initiative uses the lens of collective ancestral memory to examine the individual and communal legacies.
Visitors can access Self Inventions on Snapchat by scanning a QR code at Gallery 1957’s London and Accra spaces. Self Inventions showcases Newsome’s shape-shifting robotic figure reflecting the resilience of Black people in the face of ongoing struggle.
The show includes specially commissioned works from artists Phoebe Boswell, Adelaide Damoah, Andrew Pierre Hart, and Denyse Gawu-Mensah, while artists Lois Selasie Arde-Acquah, Larry Amponsah, Modupeola Fadugba, Henry Hussey, and Ayomide Tejuoso (Plantation) have adapted new and previous works in line with the exhibition concept.
Eight years of Gallery 1957
Gallery 1957 opened its doors to the public on Ghana Independence Day (6 March) in 2016.
Eight years on and Ghana’s artistic influence has expanded across its borders, and early collaborators of Gallery 1957 including Amoako Boafo, Arthur Timothy, Gideon Appah, Godfried Donkor, Kaloki Nyamai, Modupola Fadugba, and Serge Attukwei Clottey are presented in galleries and museums around the world.
Gallery 1957 founder Marwan Zakhem, said: “When I founded Gallery 1957 in 2016, it was time for international audiences to discover more of the talent of Ghanaian and West-African artists. Much has changed since then.
“I want to thank the artists and supporters who have been instrumental to Gallery 1957’s success, including my dear friend and mentor Professor Ablade Glover, artist Ibrahim Mahama, former ICA director Ekow Eshun, African Artists’ Foundation Founder Azu Nwogbogu and Katherine Finerty, Tracy Naa Koshie Thompson and Nuna Adisenu-Doe.
“Gallery 1957 continues to grow, debuting at 1-54 Marrakech and Art Basel Hong Kong in 2024, whilst continuing our successful residency programme and the Yaa Asantewaa Art Prize for female Ghanaian artists.”
The Yaa Asantewaa Art Prize was named after the iconic Queen Mother of Ejisu, who in 1900, led the Ashanti war also known as the War of the Golden Stool.
The first prize winner will also have the opportunity for an artist residency and exhibition at Gallery 1957. Previous winners include Araba Opoku in 2021 and Priscilla Kennedy in 2022.
Read more articles about Gallery 1957's exhibitions below.
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