Ghanaian artist, Benjamin Okantey, is back at this year’s CHALE WOTE with an installation near the Old Kings Way Building in James Town.
Okantey, an MFA student in Painting and Sculpture at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has developed a sculptural practice that focuses on repurposing plastic waste. Visitors to last year’s festival will remember how he worked with a team of James Town residents to stitch and sew pure water sachets together, creating a billowing tunnel on the street. This year, he will expand the project with an installation titled onuu onàà, an open text without any punctuation in Ga (the language of the people in the greater Accra region).
According to Okantey,
This leaves possibilities in meaning which leads to questions, critiques and dialogues with contemporary society and life. It is precisely through the distribution of commodities and mass production that so many things are happening. onuu onàà is an installation of stitched empty water sachets and other materials with history that depict a relation to the city. The scaffolds used also become an idea exhibiting a work in progress.
This he finds fascinating and political as these meanings are stitched, imposed, juxtaposed, or superimposed with other objects and forms in space. Our culture around water sachets is a direct result of the failure of the public sector to distribute potable drinking water throughout the country. The idea of public art extends these ideas and relationships to the city and its architecture.
On the festival theme, Okantey details:
The ideas/systems/channels for a production and distribution of what is to be our reality is Spirit Robot. There’s translation into others forms of language. With this installation, there’s an interplay of colour, text and symbols on the production of meanings.
Benjamin Okantey will create an installation within the emerging structure just after the Old Kings Way building, to the right of Ussher Fort on August 20-21.
By DREW SNYDER