TRANSFER(S): From Osnabrück to Tamale

Discursive programme at Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) Tamale, Ghana
November 28 - December 1, 2023

The solo exhibition and research project by Ibrahim Mahama dubbed TRANSFER(S) morphed into discursive and relational forms in its second phase and shifted its locus from Osnabrück in Germany to Tamale in Ghana. From 28th November to 1st December, Red Clay and its sister institutions, Savannah Centre of Contemporary Art (SCCA) Tamale, and Nkrumah Voli-ni (institutions founded by Mahama), hosted a plurality of perspectives coming together to supplement the artist’s and curators’ positions. To this end, weavers, academics, technicians, historians, musicians, publishers, fellow artists, and curators are invited as co-workers and/or co-producers with whom to proliferate the aesthetic-historical-political strands of the project which was done through symposiums, community-based workshops, temporary exhibitions, durational performances, lectures, and live music.

TRANSFER(S) was launched in Germany on July 8 en plein air with a monumental installation of Mahama’s montaged tapestry of strip-woven textiles, decommissioned jute sacks and batakaris (traditional garments cumulated from the northern region of Ghana) which draped the south-west, south-east, and north-east façades of the now-closed Galeria Kaufhof building in Osnabrück until October 1st, 2023. The exhibition engages a plurality of historical and contemporary flows, knots, and contentions between Central Europe and West Africa with Ibrahim Mahama’s art practice as its muse. The project is commissioned by the Kunsthalle Osnabrück on the occasion of its 30th anniversary to doubly respond to the legacy of the Westphalia Peace Treaty—signed in the neighboring towns of Osnabrück and Münster 375 years ago—and the history of textile production in Osnabrück.

TRANSFER(S) engages textiles in seven registers: as signifier, image, means of production, cipher, material, technology, and form of sociality. The exhibition taps into the complexities of the thematic points and engages them as integers of encoded economic, aesthetic, and socio-political relations transcending oceans and borders on a planetary scale. In this scope, the project aims to come to terms with the centrist-hierarchical power dynamics latent in these relationships which have engendered domination and exploitation since feudalist and mercantile capitalist regimes into our present day, while also generating alternative, disjunctive, and emancipatory trajectories through Mahama’s artistic vision and other discursive positions in an extended programme in Ghana.

Local partner institutions: SCCA Tamale, Red Clay, Nkrumah Voli-Ni (all three institutions are founded by Ibrahim Mahama) and blaxTARLINES KUMASI

Profiles:

prof. adomako


Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo is Professor of African and Gender Studies at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.  Her areas of interest include African Knowledge systems (and ‘decolonizing’ knowledge and praxis); Higher education; Race and Identity Politics; Gender relations; Masculinities; and Popular Culture.  She describes herself as an activist scholar, and her work is informed by her faith, questions of identity and power, and a commitment to social justice.   In 2022 she co-produced the documentary When Women Speak with Kate Skinner (and directed by Aseye Tamakloe) as part of the project “Archive of Activism: Gender and Public History in Postcolonial Ghana”.  Adomako Ampofo is the founding vice-president and immediate past President of the African Studies Association of Africa, and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is currently the Wangari Maathai Visiting Professor at the University of Kassel.

Bernard Akoi-Jackson


Bernard Akoi-Jackson (PhD) is a contemporary Ghanaian artist writer, curator and educator who lives and works from Tema/Accra/Kumasi or any site that loosely falls within his post-studio praxis. His general artistic practice and research trajectory revolve around his notion of ‘disturbed methodologies’, comprising a critique of post- and de-coloniality; an investigation of quotidian interactions and gestures through movement and object-oriented situations; and an engagement of linguistic quirks via textual inventions, revisions and wit. Akoi-Jackson is drawn to the politics of such vestiges of colonialist encounter as overtly bureaucratic rituals that lead to procedural stalemate in society. His multi-disciplinary, audience-implicating installations and performative pseudo-rituals, have featured in exhibitions across the world.

Chiara Figone


Chiara Figone s a researcher, editor and curator based in Dakar and Berlin. She is the founder and artistic director of Archive, a non-profit organization operating out of Berlin, Dakar and Milan. She is the publishing director of Archive Books and editor-in-chief of Archive Journal and she is part of the collective AWU based in Dakar the recently opened a feminist library in its space in collaboration with Archive. Figone is professor of editorial studies and art publishing at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti – NABA, Milan. Most recently she co-curated Publishing Practices (2021-22) and Crossings (2022).

Isaac Gyasi


Isaac Gyasi is a weaving artist who has over 20 years of professional experience in textile design and practice, imparting knowledge of traditional Ghanaian weaving (Kente, Kete, Fugu), tapestry weaving, and broadloom weaving to students from KNUST and elsewhere. His outstanding contributions to design education and promotion, inventions and enhanced functionalities in weaving and fabric colouration are well recognised among many students. He has been weaving with straw, palm fronds, bamboo, and plantain fibres as well as dye colouration. His weaving practice aims at tracing and innovative synergizing the local technologies in the historical antecedents of traditional weaving and the contemporary weaving technologies. He does this by weaving and creating traditional designs that reconnect with the lost and unidentified Ghanaian cultural heritage as well as the unique hallmarks of ‘authentic' design complexities, patience, and resilience.

Thorsten Heese


Thorsten Heese studied History, Political Science and Art History in Osnabrück (Germany) and Hull (Great Britain). In 2002, he obtained his Ph.D. at the Martin-Luther-University of Halle and Wittenberg. He is Co-Director and Curator for Local and Cultural History at the Museumsquartier of Osnabrück. He also is temporary lecturer for Museological Didactics and Museum Education at the University of Osnabrück. His scientific publications and editions deal with museology, history didactics as well as the history of colonialism, migration and National Socialism. His last publication offers “Glocal History” as an exhibition concept and perspective to decolonize historical museums and exhibitions.

Priscilla Kennedy


Priscilla Kennedy (b. 13. 07. 1994>) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Notably, she won the esteemed First Merit Award in the Barclays L'atelier Art competition in South Africa and was honoured as the recipient of the 2022 Yaa Asantewaa Art Prize. With a multidisciplinary approach, Priscilla Kennedy intricately weaves connections between body, race, sexuality, and fictional histories of objects with hybrid life forms. Her artistic practice encompasses diverse media, such as painting, tapestry, and light. These result in a tentacular deconstruction of the female body, including her own, as a multi-site for engaging conversation.

Bettina Klein Photo credit: Friso Gentsch


Bettina Klein is an art historian, independent curator, and author based in Berlin. She holds an M.A. in Art History and French Literature (Freie Universität Berlin). From 2013 to 2018, she was Head of the Visual Arts at the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program. She was curator at the Centre Européen d'Actions Artistiques Contemporaines in Strasbourg, France (2009-2012) and lecturer at weißensee kunsthochschule berlin (2011-2012). She has curated numerous exhibitions as well as projects in public space, including: Restless Monuments Berlin, interventions in public space (2021-2023); Peilung, series of encounters with Ukrainian artists, filmmakers and scientists, co-curated with Lada Nakonechna, daadgalerie, Berlin (2022-2023); Das Erscheinen eines jeden in der Menge, Galerie im Schloss Bellevue, Berlin (2021); Ibrahim Mahama, a straight line through the carcass of history. 1918–1945. 2015-2018, daadgalerie, Berlin (2018); Restless Monuments, co-curated with Naz Cuguoğlu, Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul (2018); Parlament der Pflanzen, daadgalerie, Berlin (2017); Rayyane Tabet, Kopf hoch! Mut hoch! Und Humor hoch!, daadgalerie Berlin (2017); Nouvelles de l’Île des Bienheureux, Musée du Château des Ducs de Wurtemberg, Montbéliard, France (2016); Blind Spot, Mykola Ridnyi & Serhij Zhadan, Fassadenprojekt KuLE, Auguststraße (2015); Last Sighting, daadgalerie, Berlin (2015); The Ukrainians, daadgalerie, Berlin (2014).

Koliko


Koliko (collective) constitutes a loose collective of practitioners who share an interest in music and are based in Kumasi, Ghana. For the group music is a tool for entertainment and for the soul which ought to be available to everybody, irrespective of age, class, gender or racial background. Koliko’s music functions as a medium through which to express these egalitarian ideals. Inspired by the legendary Dr. Daniel Amponsah populary known as AGYA KOO NIMO, Afrobeat band Osibisa, founded in the late 1960s, and Kwame Yeboah’s “Ohia Bɛ Yɛ Ya” band, the group’s cosmopolitan sound appropriates from local highlife music (Adadamu, Burger highlife, etc), Jazz, Soul, Calypso, et al.

Ibrahim Mahama Photo credit: Angela von Brill


Ibrahim Mahama (b.1987) lives and works in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale, in Ghana. His politically-driven practice explores themes such as the contradictions inherent in economic globalization, labour relations, and creating inclusive, sustainable infrastructure in conditions of hopelessness. His work has been included in numerous international exhibitions such as the 35th Bienal de São Paulo (2023), Sharjah Biennial 15 (2023), the 22nd Biennale of Sidney (2020), the 56th and 58th Biennale di Venezia (2015, 2019), the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2019) and Documenta 14 (Kassel, Athens, 2017). Various diverse major solo exhibitions have featured the work of Ibrahim Mahama, including TRANSFER(S), Osnabrück, Germany & Ghana (2023); Garden of Scars, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam (2022); In-Between the World and Dreams, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2020); Parliament of Ghosts, The Whitworth, University of Manchester (2019); a straight line through the carcass of history. 1918-1945. 2015-2018, daadgalerie Berlin (2018); and Coal Market, Schloss Strünkede, Emschertal-Museum, Herne (2018). Mahama is the artistic director of the 35th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts (2023-2024). He is the founder of SCCA Tamale, Red Clay and Nkrumah Volini—sister institutions engaged in hosting cultural, techno-scientific, and artistic programming in Tamale, Ghana.

Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh


Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh is a curator and critic based in Kumasi, Ghana. He is a key member of the blaxTARLINES coalition whose work is compelled by the radical hope proposed by the artist-intellectual kąrî’kạchä seid’ōu to “transform art from the status of commodity to gift”. Ohene-Ayeh’s work in the fields of pedagogy, criticism, curating, and art stretches across teaching at the Department of Painting & Sculpture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, to running the annual peer-led, schizo-pedagogical, and inoperative art school project called CritLab since 2020 as a member Exit Frame Collective in Ghana. He has co-curated TRANSFER(S) (2023), Ibrahim Mahama’s solo exhibition in Germany and Ghana, the 35th edition of the Ljubljana Graphic Arts Biennale with Exit Frame Collective (2023-2024), the 12th edition of Bamako Encounters: Biennale of African Photography (2019-2020), Akutia: Blindfolding the Sun and the Poetics of Peace (A Retrospective of Agyeman Ossei ‘Dota’ (2020-2021), Orderly Disorderly (2017), among others.

Zohra Opoku and The Revival:


Zohra Opoku and The Revival: A collaborative body of work by Ghana-based artists Zohra Opoku and The Revival (co-founded by Kwamena Boison & Yayra Agbofah) which is a community-led sustainable design non-profit entity educating and creating awareness with upcycled global textile waste. For Zohra Opoku, this collaboration will be a continuation/extension of her ‘WHO IS WEARING MY T-SHIRT' series, which was devoted to the work of unpacking interconnectedness, highlighted at the intersection of trade and textile. Zohra Opoku’s ongoing series explores the fraught relation between the second-hand Imports to Sub-Saharan Africa, the modern African textile industry and traditional African attire.

About the project:
An immersive installation unfolds, featuring patchwork-style vintage textiles from Kantamanto. In a traditional-inspired procession, Kayayei women gracefully transport the piece on wooden boards and aluminum bowls, resulting in a captivating final image—a suspended hut shape gracefully occupying the space.

Gabriel Schimmeroth


Gabriel Schimmeroth is a curator, historian and head of public programming at the Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK) in Hamburg, Germany. He is responsible for the experimental project space ‘Zwischenraum – A Space Between’ and the project ‘MARKK in Motion’ (2018-2023), which is part of the Initiative of Ethnological Collections of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. He was part of the interdisciplinary curatorial teams of the exhibitions Fleisch [Flesh/Meat] (2018)  at Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Hey Hamburg, do you know Duala Manga Bell? (2021) at MARKK, Archive of Experiences (2022) with Kelvin Haizel, part of the 8th Triennial of Photography Hamburg and curated numerous interventions and public programs. His main areas of interest reach from urban history and public infrastructures to the entanglements of museum, archive and memory politics with contemporary art.

Anna Jehle + Juliane Schickedanz Photo credit: Felix Hüffelmann


Anna Jehle + Juliane Schickedanz Since 2020, Anna Jehle and Juliane Schickedanz are co-directing Kunsthalle Osnabrück, one of the most important platforms for contemporary art in northern Germany, located in a former monastery and adjunct church. Curatorially, they work with annual themes such as “Disappointment” (2020), “Accessibility” (2021) or “Romanticism” (2022). Based on a structural interest and in the sense of a learning institution, the annual themes aim to tackle thematic complexes in a sustainable and more comprehensive approach through new artistic productions by internationally renowned artists. The Kunsthalle Osnabrück's programmes, which are conceptualised as processual and interdisciplinary, address socio-politically relevant issues and place an explicit focus on the inclusion of social processes that understand these issues as an integral part of cultural production. With its experimental and sensually tangible exhibitions and art mediation projects, the Kunsthalle has become a place for discourse and of conviviality that aims to transcend social boundaries.

Prof. kąrî’kạchä seid’ōu


Prof. kąrî’kạchä seid’ōu is an artist-intellectual, poet, mathematician, and educator. He is Ghana’s key figure in non-proprietary art and a co-founder of blaxTARLINES KUMASI. He has mentored a growing number of artists, curators, and writers. His practice has inspired an artistic revolution in Ghana. The theme of 35th Ljubljana Biennale resonates squarely with his artistic and political ideas.

Prof. Klaus Weber


Prof. Klaus Weber is a historian and Professor of European and Social History at the Europa Universität Viadrina (Frankfurt on the River Oder). In 2001 he submitted a Ph.D thesis at Universität Hamburg on German merchants in the 18th century Atlantic trade. Weber’s research interests also explore labour and welfare regimes in modern Europe and the Atlantic world and the global connections of central Europe’s early modern proto-industries. His text Linen, Silver, Slaves, and Coffee: A Spatial Approach to Central Europe’s Entanglements with the Atlantic Economy! (2015) is one of the main reference texts of this project.