Ghana Opens Its First Ghana Pavilion At Venice Art Biennale 2019

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts And Culture Of Ghana has announced that Ghana will present its first National Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of Venice Art Biennale which will be held from 11 May to 24 November 2019. The first Ghana Pavilion at the Art Biennale 2019 will take place under the patronage of Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Entitled “Ghana Freedom,” after the song composed by E.T. Mensah on the eve of the independence of the new nation in 1957, the pavilion examines the legacies and trajectories of that freedom by six artists, across three generations.

Ghana opens its first Ghana Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2019

Rooted both in Ghanaian culture and its diasporas, the pavilion exhibition will include large-scale installations by El Anatsui and Ibrahim Mahama; representation and portraiture by prominent photographer Felicia Abban and painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; and a three-channel film projection by John Akomfrah and a video sculpture by Selasi Awusi Sosu.

Situated in the Artiglierie of the historic Arsenale, the Ghanaian pavilion is designed by Sir David Adjaye. Each artist will exhibit in elliptically-shaped interconnected spaces, which draw inspiration, and are plastered with locally-sourced earth, from classical structures in Ghana.

Ghana opens its first Ghana Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2019

John Akomfrah. Mimesis: Seven Ambiguities of Colonial Disenchantment.2018. Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound. 73 minutes. Image © Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery

In addition, the Ghana Pavilion exhibition will include a publication with a preface by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; foreword by Honorable Catherine Afeku, and contributions by Sir David Adjaye, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Okwui Enwezor, Taiye Selasi, Hakeem Adam, Adjoa Armah, Mae-ling Lokko, Kuukuwa Manful, Larry Ossei-Mensah, and Mavis Tetteh-Ocloo. There will be a series of platforms during the 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice, and “Ghana Freedom” will travel from Venice to Accra after the closure of the Exhibition in November.

“Being able to show the diversity and creativity of Ghana on an international scale is an incredible achievement, and one which showcases the talent that we have to offer. The commitment and inspiration shown by the President in commissioning this pavilion is a testament to what our country has to offer the art community,” said Sir David Adjaye.

Ghana opens its first Ghana Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2019

Ibrahim Mahama. Non Orientable Paradise Lost 1667. Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2017. Photo © Ibrahim Mahama. Courtesy of White Cube.

“It means a lot for us to have our first nationalpavilion at such a narrative-building event as the Venice Biennale, especially at this moment. Theconversation about nations is broadening in the face of issues of migrations; of us redefining our connections to our diasporas throughout our ‘year of return’; of discussing what it might mean to have our cultural objects returned, and how we thus might redefine ourselves in the world; and of finally moving out of the ‘postcolonial’ moment into one we have yet to envision,” said Nana Oforiatta Ayim, curator of the pavilion.

Honorable Catherine Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture says, “This is a historic moment for us in Ghana. Arts and culture are the very soul of a nation, and with our maiden entry to the Venice Biennale, under the leadership of His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I can say, we have arrived.”

> via Ghana Pavilion

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