Ghana will present its first National Pavilion at the 58th Venice International Art Biennale, from 11 May – 24 November 2019.
The Ghana Pavilion will be curated by art historian Nana Ofosuaa Oforiatta Ayim, designed by architect, David Adjaye, with acclaimed curator and critic Okwui Enwezor acting as Strategic Advisor.
The Pavilion will feature new work by six of the country’s most distinctive and boundary breaking artists: archives of objects in large-scale installations by El Anatsui and Ibrahim Mahama; representation and portraiture, both in studio work by Ghana’s first female photographer Felicia Abban and imagined by painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; the idea of obsolescence, caused by the devastation and migrations of the slave trade in a 3-channel film by John Akomfrah, and the optimism of the newly independent state in a film sculpture by the artist Selasi Awusi Sosu.
The Ghana Pavilion exhibition will be accompanied by a publication that includes some of the country’s strongest voices both in Ghana and the Diaspora, including Kwame Anthony Appiah, Taiye Selasi, Hakeem Adam and Kuukuwa Manful.
The Venice project will subsequently travel to Ghana through a series of critical interventions in each of the ten regions, dealing with issues such as human rights, gender and education, opening up further layers of self-reflection, in collaboration with a series of contemporary artists.
Venice will also inform the initial programme of interventions in Ghana towards the development of the historic Osu Castle, the former seat of government in Ghana, turning it into the Museum of Leadership. It is the first time Ghana’s Ministry of Culture has supported a project of this kind, which brings together such a high degree of expression, of inquiry and discourse.
Nana Ofosuaa Oforiatta Ayim, Curator, said today: “Ghana is proud to be represented at the Venice Biennale for the first time this year in its own National Pavilion at this significant moment in our history. It seems like it’s the beginnings of a Golden Age for Ghanaian creativity, and bringing these important artists and writers together allows us to look at the concept, the metaphor, the collective imagining of what Ghana is. The elements that create a sense of belonging to the notion of it, both within the country and its diasporas.”