Ghana Announces First Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Artists Include John Akomfrah and Ibrahim Mahama

John Akomfrah: Tropikos. (Image from Arnolfini.org.uk)
John Akomfrah: Tropikos. (Image from Arnolfini.org.uk)

This May, Venice pavilions will increase count as Ghana launches its first national participation at the 58th Venice Biennale.  The pavilion will feature some of the country’s prominent names and leading artists from different generations who are based in Ghana and the diaspora.

Under the title “Ghana Freedom”, taken from a 1957 song by acclaimed “king of Highlife” E.T. Mensah, the featuring artists El Anatsui, John Akomfrah, Felicia Abban, Selasi Awusi Sosu, Ibrahim Mahama and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye will present sculptural installations, photographs, paintings and films. The pavilion space will be designed by award-winning architect, Sir David Adjaye, exploring the intersection of ideas in their works. 

Commissioned by Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the pavilion’s curator is Nana Oforiatta Ayim, founder of ANO Institute of Arts and Knowledge, Accra, and Okwui Enwezor, former Director of Munich’s Haus der Kunst and Curator of the 56th Venice Biennale has been tapped as the strategic adviser. 

Accompanying the pavilion’s debut is a publication with a preface by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; foreword by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Honorable Catherine Afeku; and contributions by Sir David Adjaye, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Okwui Enwezor, Taiye Selasi, Hakeem Adam, Adjoa Armah, Mae-ling Lokko, Kuukuwa Manful, Larry Ossei-Mensah, and Mavis Tetteh-Ocloo.

Ghana Freedom will be stationed in the Artiglierie section of the Arsenale in Venice, to open alongside the 58th Biennale International Exhibition from May 11 – November 24,  2019, and will travel from Venice to Accra after. There will also be a series of critical platforms and interventions in Ghana throughout the Biennale. 

The Biennale preview begins on May 8, 2019.  

For more details on Ghana Pavilion, visit ghanainvenice.org 

1 Comment
  1. This is great unlike the charade that was the ‘Nigeria in Venice’ participation at tue 57th edition, that turned out to be a classic example of the self serving and the short sighted.

    The government of Ghana solidly buying into the project, the contributions by Okwui, Taiye etc just makes Ghana’s participation one to watch and then, it travelling to Ghana afterwards and the interventions in Ghana during the Biennale…… Hahaha. Nigeria the giant just got bodied. But, I guess thats rhe fate of giants considering Davids never stay still.

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