(Thursday) 21 October – (Saturday) 27 November 2010 Reception for the artist : Thursday, 21 October, six to eight p.m. Gallery hours : Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Howard Scott Gallery is pleased to announce the opening – on Thursday, 21 October – of a solo exhibition by the Ghanaian painter Atta Kwami.
Fufofo means 'coming together' in Ewe, the language of the Volta Region in eastern Ghana, bordering Togo. The exhibition brings together paintings and etchings made in Kumasi, Ghana, Washington, D.C. and Loughborough, UK. From March thorough May 2010. He served as artist-in-residence at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C.. The fellowship which was awarded by UCLA was instituted in memory of Phillip Ravenhill, Chief Curator of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, (1987-97). Atta's desire was to look at Asante and Ewe kente, gold-weights and photos of Ghana in the archives of the museum:
"The qualities I seek on my work are clarity, simplicity, intensity, subtlety, architectonic structure, musicality (rhythm and tone), wholeness and spontaneity. So many strands inevitably manifest themselves in painting: jazz, the timbre of (Ghanaian music (Koo Nimo), improvisation, arrangements of merchandise and so forth. I also see corresponding aesthetic commonalities with wall paintings and music from northern Ghana, the limited range of earth colors and the pentatonic scale of the xylophone. Poetry is able to sustain the life of language through new forms of usage. In painting it is also re-interpretation, improvisation and variation that affect innovation and development."
While the weavings of West Africa were an important influence on his early work, there were additional significant influences including how color dye mixes oxidize in the open air, kiosks and street-life in Kumasi. The wall paintings and fabrics from northern Ghana and Fante Asafo flags have also been a vital resource. When he started to show work critics identified a connection in his paintings with strip weaving and textile designs. It is ironic that their interpretation has led him to study weaving with greater conviction.
Atta Kwami was born in Accra, Ghana in 1956. Kwami completed his PhD in Art History at the Open University on 2007. He has been the recipient of several awards including a Ghana Cultural Fund grant in 2008 and the Philip L. Ravenhill Fellowship in African Art. Formerly a Senior Lecturer, he taught painting and printmaking for twenty years at the College of Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. His paintings are held in major public collections including the National Museum of Ghana and Kenya, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The British Museum. This forthcoming exhibition, his second (2008) at this gallery will coincide with the release of his book, 'Kumasi Realism, 1951-2007: An African Modernism' (Hurst Publishers Ltd, London).