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2012-04-20 | Bernard Akoi-Jackson

Bernard Akoi-Jackson, artist and writer for Ghana, has been visiting the Thami Mnyele Foundation.
Akoi-Jackson will present the performance "Handel" in the context of the SMBA/Nubuke Foundation Accra, collaborative project: Time, trade and travel. For more info about the ""SMBA project:1975" see>http://project1975.smba.nl/en.

We would like to bring to your attention Akoi-Jackson's performance statement (please push more to read the whole statement):

Handel_
Performance statement by Bernard Akoi-Jackson

We share histories. And we can only truly share these histories if there is a collective treatise: Time, Trade and Travel. The lost wax technique used to produce brass heads and brass gold-weights in the Nok and Asante cultures has been applicable in textile production techniques like batik that lead eventually to the successful Hollandaise Wax print enterprise.


Handel_
performance statement by Bernard Akoi-Jackson

We share histories. And we can only truly share these histories if there is a collective treatise: Time, Trade and Travel. The lost wax technique used to produce brass heads and brass gold-weights in the Nok and Asante cultures has been applicable in textile production techniques like batik that lead eventually to the successful Hollandaise Wax print enterprise. Though many may not have considered the similarities between the techniques, I have been musing round their affinity for a while now. In the two techniques, though the wax is lost, all is not necessarily lost. Even in batik, it is possible to regain a large percentage of the wax lost when the fabric/textile is de-waxed. The loss of the wax actually results in the production of the eventual art. Whilst many tend to hold that such techniques are autonomous to individual or regional cultures, there is the inherent possibility for them spreading beyond their originating environments. This occurs via the intermingling of cultures through travel, trade/exchange and time.
Close encounters of the human kind have tended to yield interesting, if not surprising results. In certain instances, these results would be devastating. A supposedly ‘dominant’ culture is often said to have annihilated a ‘weaker’ one. If annihilation is not in the question, then it is a conquest, subjugation or even colonization. The strategies that the ‘dominant’ culture uses often border largely on erasure. Values are erased, names, beliefs and most importantly, the collective memory of a people is erased. With cultural amnesia becoming symptomatic of the general collective psyche, indigenous knowledge is denied. The presumption is that the so called ‘weaker’ culture was always the proverbial Tabula Rasa upon which new histories of the ‘successful conquest’ should be inscribed.
These are some of the issues that the post-colonial African identity has had to grapple with in all endeavours, including art, if not more so in art. I have often said that the contemporary African has developed a largely schizophrenic character which is worth interrogating. My project intends to pastiche certain ‘real-life’ situations that have become a constituent of our post-modernist, post-colonialist and hybrid identities.

Bernard Akoi-Jackson
Artist/Writer

Bio
Bernard Akoi-Jackson is an artist and writer interrogating hybrid post-colonial African identities, through ephemeral make-shift memorials and performative rituals of the mundane. Using critical absurdity he becomes the proverbial jester or Esu moving between genres; dance, poetry, installation, photography and video to confront the complexities of his specific cultural moment. He received his BFA and MFA from the College of Art and Social Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi in 2003 and 2006 respectively.

Thami Mnyele Foundation promotes the exchange of art and culture between Africa and the Netherlands.