My Mother’s Wardrobe, Exhibition with Serge Attukwei Clottey at Gallery 1957, Accra, 2016


Serge Attukwei Clottey
‘My Mother’s Wardrobe’
Curated by Nana Oforiatta Ayim/ ANO

The exhibition ‘My Mother’s Wardrobe’ comprises a series of works inspired by the aftermath of the death of the artist Serge Attukwei Clottey’s mother, overlaying narratives of personal, family and collective histories. In form, Clottey draws on the interplay of the international and local, incorporating the universal and recurring theme of the barcode alongside the aesthetic structure of Ga Kpanlago rhythms, commenting on the enduring discourse of waxprint’s local demand and international production, from Indonesia to Holland to China. Abstracting his environment, into monuments such as The Independence Arch, and the Jamestown and Labadi beachscapes so prevalent in his early paintings and current sculptural installations, the pieces, like the cloth they draw on, take on subtle semantic and communicative tones, there if you know where and how to look.

The curatorial concept draws on local philosophies of being, in particular a tripartite colour philosophy of white, red and black, expanded on by Nana Oforiatta Ayim in her forthcoming book, ‘The Aesthetics of Drum Poetics.’ Here, the cloths have been arranged to mirror the passage of life, from birth, to becoming, to death; as expressed in the cycle of cloths worn on occasions from Outdoorings to Knockings to Funerals. Drawing on the close layering of cloths often present in mothers’ wardrobes and in the markets of Makola and Kaneshie, the structure of the exhibition aims to bring something of this evocative, visceral, closeness into the white cube space of the gallery.

Photographs by Nii Odzenma and Faggott Koroviev