p r o j e c t
We must know that 'away' is in fact a place ... where people and environments will suffer from our carelessness, our ignorance or indifference. Jim Puckett: "A Place Called Away", 2011

2nd Kumasi Biennial Symposium: Community Art in Focus
July 16 - August 6, 2011 in Ghana
in the city of Kumasi and the nearby Village of Abetenim in Ashanti Region
Nka Foundation in cooperation with Center for Cultural and African Studies in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Center for National Culture in Kumasi
public art workshop
art approaching local resistance against global injustice
HMJokinen, visual artist and curator, Finland/Germany
Charlie Michaels, visual artist and educator, USA
Globalized capitalism and neoliberal economy bring serious social and environmental problems. Large divides are created by rich countries through the looting of natural resources, and the excessive comsumption and the disposal of waste in poor countries, where pollution and poverty grow.
Public space in African cities is increasingly economicized and privatized by transnational companies, and inhabitants often become victims of forced evictions. The omnipresent advertisement brandings in Ghana produce visual pollution in urban and rural space.
In the course of this unsound development in contested spaces, how can nature, diversity, local homes and local culture be sustained? What is the role of art in approaching problems that effect people and environment? In what ways can we use art work to research, intervene, speak out, and awaken conciousness? Where and how can artists join local communities, transdisciplinary teams, and international networks to address global affairs affecting local issues? How can art foster sustainability? Can we even find work opportunities in fields not traditionally considered for artists? And how can we apply these questions to contemporary problems in Ghana?
We will look at art history and nature's past, at early and contemporary forms of environmental destruction and social injustice. We will discuss forms of protest, civil disobedience, activism, artistic action and public intervention. We will research myths and narratives of the essence of nature, air and water, of gods and spirits. We will exchange between Ghanain/African, European, and American cultures. Together we will read inspiring texts on urban space, social practice, activism as well as artistic intervention through symbolic, aesthetic, and practical means.
As a starting point for our art work, we will map the public space around the city Kumasi and the village Abetenim to find fields of our concrete interest. We will invite local people to join us in the village, in the city, and in the market place. We will use photography, text, drawing, graffiti, printing, carving, web art, video, social sculpture, site-specific or nomadic installation, model building, intervention, performance and other applicable artistic methods.
Participants in the workshop will work as a collective, where everyone is considered both a learner and a teacher with valuable contributions to offer. We will learn from local residents and craftspeople in the villages around Kumasi. We might create new Adinkra symbols, carve calabash and print cloth. We might intervene in urban space, paint houses, create street art or exhibit and perform in a market booth. In the end we will document and present the results of our work-in-progress in an exhibition and a digital catalog.
-> workshop lectures and excursions

HMJokinen (www.kupla.de)
is a visual artist and curator, born in Finland, living and working in Germany. Projects and art exhibitions in Ghana, Tanzania and China, in West and East European countries, in the USA, among them:
- wandsbektransformance - the Colonial in the Present (www.wandsbektransformance.de)
- afrika-hamburg.de (www.afrika-hamburg.de)
- Hybridenmuseum
- Incantations of Yearning (www.festival-eigenarten.de/sehnsuchtsformeln)
- projection posthum: Heaven Above Wandsbek- Guinea - St. Croix, 2009 in Kumasi, Ghana
- Sankofa Space, 2009 in Kumasi, Ghana
Curator of the touring exhibition freedom roads! colonial street names/ postcolonial cultures of remembrance (www.freedom-roads.de)
Research of the (post)colonial history as well as of encounters with the Self and the Other; art in urban space, participatory projects and publications.

Charlie Michaels (www.charlie-michaels.com)
is a visual artist and educator from the United States. Originally from Chicago, Charlie is now based between Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan where his interests focus on bridging gaps between divergent communities and humans with nature in urban spaces. He is currently working with the University of Michigan School of Art and Design to bring visual art curriculums to children in under-resourced public schools in inner city Detroit.
Charlie's studio work and public projects have been shown throughout the United States in Chicago, New York and Detroit and internationally in Ghana, Italy, and Germany. Recent public projects include The Night Sky Billboard Project, a hand painted billboard made in collaboration with Bird, a local sign painter, that returned the stars to the sky over a dark Detroit Intersection and Re-Painting the Red in Kumasi, Ghana which subverted western corporate logos on a Kumasi family's home by transforming them into Adinkra, Ghanaian cultural symbols.
Thanking for project funding



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