The art of (re)presentation
A digital exhibition created for 'A Day of Blackstars' - an event produced and delivered by the Young Africa Centre (UK) @yg_africacentre to celebrate 60 years of Ghanaian Independence. The thinking behind the exhibition is simple; to (re)present images taken (yes taken) in Ghana in colonial times, changing, or at least questioning the original relationship between presenter and viewer. Images were selected for their depiction of tradition, leadership and natural beauty. For each image, contextual information is presented in a way which foregrounds metadata generated by young Africans and places the institutional description of the material in a secondary position.
Whilst definitely a celebration of Africa, tradition, craftsmanship, beauty and the remix, putting this exhibition together also reminded us that the decolonisation of our minds is an unfolding journey. Kente fabric has an extremely long a rich history (there is a good piece on it here if you're interested) and apart from formerly being a preserve of royalty, each pattern has a specific meaning and that meaning is often related to the wearer of the cloth. Not having the cultural knowledge to 'translate' the patterns used here reminded us, as Africans via the Caribbean of the work that is required of us to enable us to meaningfully call ourselves 'African'.
The original images, plus many others from all over Africa can be found on the National Archives 'Africa Through a Lens' Flickr page here.