Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh creates site-specific installations, design and socially engaged projects that explore how specific events in the colonial history of Ghana continue to shape and affect Ghanaian identity. His ongoing Prison Anxieties series (2011 – present), for example, explores the historicity of Ga Mashie, or Jamestown, a district in the city Accra that was once a seat of Dutch and British colonial power. Using the Dutch-built Ussher Fort Prison as a location for multiple installations and interventions, Ohene-Ayeh created makeshift routes, spaces and obstacles throughout the site. Exploring themes of death, escape, anxiety, freedom and liberation, colonial memory and trauma were pieced together through a process of re-construction and re-remembering.
During his residency at Gasworks, Ohene-Ayeh developed and deepened his theoretical understanding of history, national identity, nation-state, and memory through research, dialogue and collaboration with local artists and institutions. Exploring these themes through the Ghanaian flag, Kwasi initiated a new body of work in reference to the Asafo flags made in Ghana throughout the colonial period. For the Open Studio, Kwasi presented the work, Notion: 06 03, a hand-made Asafo flag using the applique technique of piecing different fabrics together in a figurative composition.
An interview with Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh and Gasworks Curator Robert Leckie can be downloaded in the Resources section below.
Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh (born 1986) lives and works in Accra. Recent exhibitions include Untitled... (3) [Letter To The Sky], Iglesia La Merced, Santiago de Cali; Dear Dakar, Àsìkò 4th, CCA Lagos International Art Programme; and Exit Frame – Du Bois In Our Time, W.E.B Du Bois Center, Accra (all 2014).
This residency is supported by TrAIN and he is hosted in the Outset Residency Studio.