Documenting Africa: Meet Nana Oforiatta

Smiles-Fosua- Mantse Aryeequaye-july 2013

Nana Oforiatta Ayim. Photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

NANA OFORIATTA AYIM is a cultural historian from the Akyem Abuakwa traditional area of the Eastern Region. She works as a writer, filmmaker, and ethnographer. In fact, Nana has just finished writing her first book. She is founder of the research initiative ANO, and has published and shown her films widely across global platforms, including publications such as frieze, Manifesta, and African Metropolitan Architecture. Her work has been exhibited at institutions like the KNUST Museum, Kumasi; Tate Modern, London; and the New Museum, New York. She was recently named one of Africa’s ‘top 50 trailblazers’ by The Africa Report, a list containing ‘pioneers who will lead us to the Africa of tomorrow’.

I wouldn’t presume to be telling the stories of all Ghanaians, but I would like to tell some of the stories that I hear and see and feel that haven’t been told, and add to the kaleidoscope of representations. – Nana Oforiatta Ayim

Her work explores ideas of narratives and identity through different media of film, literature and exhibitions. In her documentaries and writings, Nana’s prose-like commentaries take you on a journey of self-discovery, revealing a side of the African continent that must continue to be documented, stories of Africans by Africans.

For Nana, her motivation to curate art and write about the African continent comes from a deep-seated desire to share knowledge and create meaningful exchanges with history. Growing up in Ghana and other places abroad, Nana always noted critical gaps in the stories told about Africa and the history of African peoples. Her interest is in unearthing stories and staging specific and intentional moments of cultural exchange through a theorizing of art within Africa.

Nana’s project for CHALE WOTE 2015 is dubbed “The Living History Hub”. The Living History Hub is being produced in collaboration with architect D.K. Osseo-Asare, and is a purpose-built structure/kiosk that revolutionizes the idea of what a museum is and can be.

Close-up2- Nana Fosua- Mantse Aryeequaye-2013 july

Nana Oforiatta. Photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

The hub will be built as an adjunct of The Cultural Encyclopaedia, a large-scale documentation and archive project, dedicated to mapping trajectories and the re/ordering of knowledge, narratives and representations from the African continent. Nana plans to replicate the Living History Hub in all 10 regions of Ghana, following the festival, in order to uncover a sense of value in visual and oral histories, and share opportunities to learn more about the country’s rich cultures.

Story by Duncan Elikplim Gablah

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