Theresah Ankomah Presents ‘Hidden Realms and Shadows’ at ADA \ contemporary art gallery

Theresah Ankomah repurposes Kenaf baskets with palm leaves, rattan, jute rope, generally dyed with sudine. Imported from Niger into Ghana, the Kenaf baskets are used to store onions, cabbages, cocoyam, and mangoes. Ankomah is interested in rediscovering and re-contextualizing the complexities of weaving to discover and tell untold stories of Kenaf baskets’ process, technique, and practice. Hidden Realms and Shadows magnifies this practice of weaving which has moved beyond the construction of these objects to view its dynamic nature, sustainability, economics, trade, and attitudes.

Theresah Ankomah
‘Up the Hills’ by Theresah Ankomah featured in ‘Hidden Realms and Shadows’ (2021). Courtesy of the artist.

Material metaphors and vibrant aesthetic forms characterize Ankomah’s installations, which she perceives to be archival objects which have passed through various borders, cultures, processes, different owners, and many hands both named and anonymous.

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The installed forms are reassembled baskets, manipulated through weaving and stitching, thus transforming the baskets into new tapestry and intricate designs. The installations form entangled and complex visual imageries, concocting enigmas, and curiosity.

Ankomah transfers the textures of her weaving and tapestries unto canvases through a conscious practice of twisting cords, yarns, and stitching, intensifying tactile three-dimensional experiences. Onion baskets merged and screened unto colourful canvases with thread stitched directly onto the centre of the canvas form an array of both visual and palpable designs. However, the designs transmit a deeper meaning despite their vibrant appearance. The series of paintings are aerial views of the Ghanaian urban landscape exposing its weak metropolitan system and poor city management.

Theresah Ankomah
‘ Easy on me’ by Theresah Ankomah featured in ‘Hidden Realms and Shadows’ (2021). Courtesy of the artist.

Ankomah summarises the concept of this solo exhibition in her own words: “Like my previous work titled The Wonderland (2016), Hidden Realms and Shadows is an ecosphere which exists in an author-conceived world. It is a state of being curious about my practice and getting lost at the same time. Exploring different mediums, wondering, ready to figure something out.”

Theresah Ankomah lives and works in Accra, Ghana. Her artistic expressions manifest in performative installations, sculpture, weaving, photography, basketry painting and printmaking. Ankomah’s work explores the intricacies of ‘weaving’ through the complexities of ‘craft’ in relation to trade and how underpinning issues of geopolitics, gender and capitalism resonate in the everyday usage of materials and objects. Through her work, the idea of weaving moves beyond the confinement of beauty, name-tagging such as ‘Feminist works’, primitive and the functionality of objects to explore more complex issues such as consumerism, geopolitics, gender, identity and capitalism. In 2017, Ankomah received the first runner prize of the prestigious Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art in Ghana.

Hidden Realms and Shadows is on view from October 21 – December 02, 2021, at ADA \ contemporary art gallery in Accra, Ghana. 

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