If there ever was an undervalued and ignored metal sphere in currency circles, Ghana’s one pesewa coins would have to be it. And yet, Yaw Owusu, uses these neglected objects as the perfect medium to pose questions about materiality and value.
His grand sculptures at first sight are pleasant contours filled with warm and vibrant sheen and dull, thick roughness and somewhere in between the two.
On closer inspection – Yaw’s work is a collage of human emotions, personalities and perspectives – some people shine, others are rusty tin cans, others navigate life always unsure and in-between. Aha, here’s a metaphor that stitches together characters in the never-ending stage production we call life.
His work also speaks to the (mis)management of political and socio-economic structures. It questions state policies and economic practices and at the same time, inspires a need for self-reliance.
Explaining his perspective on Spirit Robot, Yaw shares:
I would like to think Spirit Robot is a vibe igniting our (both Individualistic and collective) consciousness to our current state of reality. It’s our innate reaction as artists and citizens of society towards emancipation and change with regards to the issues of failing economic and political structures and systems. The opportunity is upon us to realize the trail of events and happenings that affect our today and its impact on our future.
Yaw is bringing an exciting project to CHALE WOTE called Back to the Future where we time jump into the reality of a disappointing political and economic national history. The project will examine the national flag, an embodiment of the spirit, strength and hopes of Ghanaians, a symbol Yaw considers to be
a subversive act to spell out the consistent failure and mismanagement of our economy by successive governments shortly after independence that is dragging our past (slavery, oppression and hardship) into our present which was the anticipated future to be freed of oppression and hardships by the founders of our nation.
He explains further:
…economic mismanagement has placed on us the struggle to survive on a daily basis and the shadows of capitalism crouching on us taking over our own resources like before. Serving as an alert to point out the error of us ending in ruins and pain, The spirit in the work now serves as a mechanism to join with the many other artists and enthusiasts to arrest the situation soon enough.
Be sure t o catch Yaw Owusu’s work at Ussher Fort, right after the Old Kings Way Building. His work is also part of the OPEN GALLERY tour that kicks off CHALE WOTE on August 15th at the Cornfields In Accra exhibition inside the Museum of Science and Technology (open until the end of the month).
By KADI YAO TAY