THE NORTHERN EXPERIENCE – Unpacking the Cultural and Historical Significance of Northern Ghana

Day 6 of the Chale Wote Street Art Festival saw the festival go to the Folkspace at the National Theatre for the Northern Experience; History and Art from Northern Ghana.

The afternoon began with a panel discussion with artists from the Perfocraze International Artists Residency. Off the strength of the growing number of performance artists present at the festival each year, the panel, moderated by Hakeem Adam, sought to gain a deeper understanding of the method and practices they employ to activate the entire body as an expressive medium.

Moderator Hakeem Adam with a section of the panellists, Va-Bene Fiatsi (Ghana), John Herman (German), and Cory Perry (USA)

The panel on visual iconography was the next for the afternoon. The discussion, moderated by Hakeem Adam explored the nuances in developing visual language. Featuring artists Nando Nkrumah (Germany/Ghana) and Adama Delphine Fawunda (Sierra Leone/USA), the panel explored how certain visual elements become icons, capturing the spirit and essence of distinct time, place or movement. 

Nando Nkrumah listens to a question from the audience

In celebration of the diversity of artistic expression indigenous to northern Ghana, the Northern Experience hosted artists at the forefront of the contemporary face of this movement, seeking to understand the themes, motifs and patterns through which the people of northern Ghana expression their history and culture. Faustina Ayambie, Anita-Pearl Ankor and Chief Moomen, all artists whose work largely interacts with actions and activities from the north, discussed the diversity of artistic expression indigenous to northern Ghana.

Up close with Chief Moomen and Anita-Pearl Ankor

The main discussion for the day, “Indigenous Ghanaian Languages and national development: the case of Mabia languages of Northern Ghana” saw Mandiaya Sumani Seini host academics Dr Tengan, Dr Obadele Kambon and Dr Nanbigne, to throw more light on the history of northern Ghana, their languages, their culture and their challenges.

The night pressed on with the screening of films set in Northern Ghana, and electric musical performances by artists from the north, Yeniwin, Maaseg, Soorebia, Fatau Kieta, Big Gad, Nanny and the naningos.



Written by Nii Komey, Hakeem Adam and Fafa MacAuley

Image credit: Abdul-Haqq Mahama and Mawutor

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