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Ghanaian Visual Artist, Awarded The 2020 Principal Prince Claus Laureate

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Ghanaian visual artist, Ibrahim Mahama has been awarded the 2020 Principal Prince Claus Laureate. Ibrahim is actively involved in improving social conditions and his powerful artworks use provocative materials and sites to examine and expose histories, uphold the role of labour, challenge authorities and criticise mismanagement of resources.

Directly addressing lack of opportunities and facilities in his home region, the Northern Region of Ghana, he has set up an open access cultural centre and other social projects providing employment, education, studio space and creative activities.

An event was held at the residence of the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana on Wednesday 2nd December 2020 to celebrate him just after the official announcement of the seven 2020 Prince Claus Laureates in a special online ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

During the programme, His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Honorary Chair of the Prince Claus Fund, and the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag spoke about the power of culture.

Selected from around the world, the 2020 Prince Claus Laureates are Açık Radyo (Independent radio, Turkey), Diamantina Arcoiris (Fashion designer, Colombia), Fendika Cultural Centre (Music and cultural centre, Ethiopia), Tunakaimanu Fielakepa (Textile arts and cultural heritage expert, Tonga) and m7red (Architecture and activist network, Argentina). The Next Generation Laureate went to Hira Nabi (Filmmaker, Pakistan).

Since 1997, the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development has presented Prince Claus Awards to individuals, groups and organisations whose cultural actions have a positive impact on their societies, primarily in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. In keeping with the Prince Claus Fund’s guiding principles, the awards highlight significant contributions in regions where resources or opportunities for cultural expression are limited.

Arts & Culture

Could 2021 Be The Year Of The African Museum?

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While the West continues to grapple with its colonial past, institutions from Togo to Cairo are creating more expansive models to celebrate art

Most museums as we know them seem to exist in order to help us in some way see ourselves and the world better.

National Museum of Ghana

At the beginning of last year, the International Council of Museums went though a public crisis when some of its members sought to expand the definition of museums to include their engagement with political and social issues.

In the summer, I did a talk with Yilmaz Dziewior, the director of Museum Ludwig, and one of the audience members asked if we would still be able to enjoy the works if they were contextualised.

Then in the autumn, in a thread on the repatriation of objects, a Twitter user asked whether “normal people” might still be able to view the objects if they were returned to the kinds of countries where there was no “free speech”.

The notion behind these suppositions is that Western museums and norms do not need to be contextualised by political and social realities, because they would then no longer be able to be taken at aesthetic or intellectual face value. But the current crises that museums face comes precisely from the problem of the colonial mindset that placed Western civilisation and its taming modernities at the apex of humanity. A hierarchy of being that continues to see anything outside itself as alternative, inferior, merely indigenous or premodern, has resulted in the violations and inequalities among people and our environment that we face so starkly today.

In the West, museums are still grappling with how to redefine themselves in this moment, with how to honestly and accountably face their pasts, where even those who want to atone for violences of theft through reparation continue to speak on behalf of those that can speak for themselves. In other parts of the world, different conversations are being had.

On the African continent, museums as we know them were largely a colonial import, created to bolster newly independent national narratives with borrowed forms. As part of the exercise of control and exploitation, it was drummed into colonised peoples that their beings, their ways of seeing and expression, were primitive, backward, and of no value; all while these very things, with differing degrees of violence, were exported to the West to be re-valued for their museums and for their gain.

Black Civilisations in Senegal

Forms of expression
While these narratives of inferiority still exist throughout the continent, especially when it comes to our historical cultural expressions, there is also so much that has prevailed; forms of expression, of exhibiting, of exchanging that have evolved over many millennia, which have taken in all the many influences that have passed through them and grown, despite the odds stacked against them.

Museums like the Palais de Lomé, which opened in 2019 in Togo, and the Museum of Black Civilisations in Senegal, which opened the year before, are co-curating with communities around them and creating more expansive models. New museums that are breaking ground this year, like the Grand Egyptian Museum, the Pan African Heritage World Museum in Ghana, the Museum of Humankind in Kenya, and the Museum of Maritime History in Mozambique, will tell narratives from the dawns of African civilisations in all their pluralistic forms. And new types of museums, archives and networks, like the Museum of British Colonialism, African Digital Heritage and the International Inventories Programme, continue to emerge.

In Ghana, our president, Nana Akufo-Addo, commissioned a review of our existing museum restructures, which I have been leading and bringing together for the past year. The report of the first committee (ghanaheritagefuture.com) outlines new curatorial, architectural, financial, structural possibilities for our museums, monuments and national parks. Our next step is a competition for a new kind of museum building, the design of which will be announced in 2021.

In 1964, our first president, Kwame Nkrumah, commissioned the architect Franco Minissi to design our National Museum, but like many of our independence dreams, it was never completed and the ground for it still lies waiting. This time it is for a homegrown architect, either alone or in collaboration with an international one, to reimagine what a structure might hold and look like, that honours and takes into account the many spirits of our communities, our environment, and our objects, both at home and those to be returned. A structure that will allow for narratives and exchange with, and across, other parts of the world, on equal terms.

By NANA OFORIATTA AYIM

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An Illustrated Book Dedicated To The Memory Of JJ Rawlings Now Available

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‘CHANGES’ the Dawn of a Revolution, tells the story of Ghana’s June 4th1979 revolution and the events directly related to it. Since it is not meant to be a detailed account, it obviously does not cover every aspect of the story. It only tries to set it down for our remembrance.

It reveals an African uprising captured in ‘real time’ (1979) by Kwame Addo, an artist, as the continent continues to rediscover the true essence of its democracy; reminding us of the people’s power and their desire to survive in a free, just and accountable society.

This insightful illustrated document is timely and informative after incubating for forty years. The A4 size, 34 pages comic format, cloaked in a captivating semi hard cover is available in English, French and Spanish.

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Arts & Culture

The ‘Camboo’ Rave Is This Saturday [SEE DETAILS]

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From Gucci to Tom Ford and Balenciaga, sneakers are known on the Ghanaian ‘streets’ as Camboo has become an essential element of every body’s casual wardrobe. Designer sneakers are indeed now perfectly acceptable to wear from the gym to the office. You can comfortably wear them with a pair of jeans for an elegant casual look or dress them up with a suit for a business casual style. Sneakers offer a level of style, versatility, and comfort that other shoes just can’t match.

With this craze for Camboo, Ghanaian music Talent B4Bonah and prolific music producer Zodiac are spearheading the first edition of the Camboo Rave happening on Saturday, December 26, 2020 at the Woods,3rd Ringway Asafotse Akpan LN, Osu, Accra.

The event is scheduled to start at 11 am with the Art + Sneaker talk + Music activity which will end at 4 pm, from 5 pm -11 pm there will be a celebration moment with the DJs and a dance battle. DJ Spin will be there to serve some hot jams with DJ Big Stan ready to give the audience some good vibe.

Artistes on the bill are B4Bonah, Kelvin Black, and other known Ghanaian music talents who will be representing at the event. Entry fee which is Gh₵ 100 comes with an unlimited cocktail, customized FTY and a merch.

According to the event owners, the attire for the event is a Camboo (Sneakers) paired with a clean cloth.

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Audiomack Unveiled Official Streaming Platform For 2020 Afrochella Block Party

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Audiomack today announced its collaboration with Afrochella to host the second edition of its Rising Star challenge designed to increase the visibility of artists across Africa. In addition to this, Audiomack will be sponsoring Afrochella’s block party on December 26th as the official streaming partner.

Launched in 2019, Rising Star is an initiative created to discover and promote up-and-coming talent across Africa. The first edition saw over a hundred entries from African artists compete for a chance to perform onstage at 2019 Afrochella, alongside a cash prize and a studio session with BBnZ Live – one of Ghana’s leading entertainment and artist management agencies.

This year, artists across the Africa continent are called upon to submit their music and portfolio to Audiomack for a chance to emerge as the winner of the second edition of the Rising Star challenge. 25 of the best submissions will be included in a curated Audiomack playlist for the public to discover these emerging talents. On January 12th, these submissions will be vetted and judged by music aficionados – Juls (British-Ghanaian producer), King Promise (Ghanaian singer-songwriter) and Olive Liv-Chisomebi Uche (Content Strategy Manager, Audiomack Africa). The chosen artist will win a cash prize of $1,000; a studio session at BBnZ Live as well as an artist feature on the Audiomack platform.

‘’We are proud to be able to provide a platform for the discovery of fresh and exciting music talents in Africa. Our Rising Star challenge is in line with our vision to ensure the delivery of authentic and quality music to the global audience. Afrochella presents an opportunity for Audiomack to accelerate our commitment of investing in rising artists and ultimately promote African music’’, said Adeyemi Adetunji (Head of Operations and Commercial Partnerships, Audiomack Africa).

Commenting on the initiative, Afrochella Founder, Abdul Karim-Abdullah said, ‘’We are excited to combine efforts with Audiomack to help provide exposure and support to talented artists across Africa. We believe that Afrochella and Audiomack’s shared value in spotlighting and elevating local talent will drive the music ecosystem forward across the region’’.

‘’Rising Star’’ is currently underway and closes 2nd January, 2020. The Rising Star playlist will go live on the Audiomack platform from January 3rd till January 11th and the winner will be announced on January 12th. Artists can apply and find all information at afrochella.com/Blockparty

With a presence in all 54 African countries, Audiomack remains committed to connecting with its African audience by investing resources into the region’s culture and communities.

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