Home is Here, Too
Beeler Gallery at Canzani Center (on the first floor of the Joseph V. Canzani Center at CCAD)
60 Cleveland Ave.
Home is Here, Too, a group exhibition showcasing works from the Accra x Columbus Artists’ Residency, is on view at Columbus College of Art & Design’s Beeler Gallery Project Space Thursday, Oct. 12–Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, with an opening reception 5–7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12. The exhibition showcases artists with connections to Accra, Ghana whose practices identify migration and precarious societal structures as sites for community-building. The exhibition is organized by guest curators Edmund Gaisie (Fine Arts, 2000) and Rebecca Ibel in partnership with Faculty Director of Galleries Tim Rietenbach.
Making art in an emerging economy like Ghana’s comes with its own particular challenges. Historically, costs of materials are high, conservative political ideologies can be restrictive, and artists have limited access to the global market. However, the Ghanaian creative community approaches such challenges as potential opportunities—ones that fuel their creativity, their ingenuity, and their aspirations.
The five artists featured in Home is Here Too have created responses to the specific hurdles they’ve faced while traveling their creative paths. To pursue their talents and build up thriving practices, these artists often have to relocate to new places—new cities, countries, and continents—drastically different from their places of origin. While these new communities are generally welcoming and offer new opportunities, they require adaptation.
Home is Here, Too traces the process of movement in art and artists. Navigating with meticulous attention to politics, identity, and environmentalism this group of artists produce artworks challenging tropes and assumptions. The featured artists assert a kaleidoscopic array of materiality, texture, and color to encompass the complexity of body and psyche in communal networks. Spanning nearly 18 artworks, viewers are beckoned to explore the space housed in these paintings along with the narratives that fuel their production. This exhibition receives its pulse through the artists’ connection to Ghana’s capital, while resonating with the diasporic community.
Ghanaian artists are skillful at adapting to their studio life and their new dwellings. They embrace their new surroundings, but they will make accommodations for their preferred customs. While creative influences, and preferred customs are disparate among this cohort, still core commonalities exist between them. There are three guarantees when a Ghanaian artist inhabits a new dwelling: 1. art will be created; 2. prayers will be had; and 3. on schedule, fufu and light soup will be eaten!
Columbus and Accra have a specific connection as Sister Cities, a relationship established in 2015. With Home is Here, Too, the featured artists call attention to that relationship, and foster a dialogue about “home” as a concept. In its mutability, home is a community of engagement, a perpetual process. The Sister City partnership aims to permanently establish economic, educational, and cultural exchange for the strong entanglement of African and African American cultures; Ibel and Gaisie conceived Home is Here, Too at Beeler Gallery as a continuation of this pursuit.
More about the artists and art in Home is Here, Too:
Political sentiment is often referenced in the exhibition, particularly in the portraits of Jephthah Aikins Bentsil-Kobiah. His careful approach references the fickle aspects of Ghanaian socio-political life. Displaying an acute understanding of the power of language, the vibrant scenes attest to a spirit that addresses, grapples, and ultimately transcends it.
Environmentalism is tethered to consumerism in hand-stitched portraits by Solomon Adu. Constructing a vibrancy born from the centralizing of labor to collect items of pollution, Adu highlights the community through figure and fashion, cleverly subverting the speed and waste of capitalism.
The materiality of Theresah Ankomah’s weavings and sculptures echo the focus and process of Solomon Adu’s portraits. Abandoning the figural to represent the unseen journey of art and laborer, these complex weavings examine the functionality of art as a vessel to understand complex social issues, with identity and migration as central tenets in her practice.
Migration and Identity also take the center of Amina Kassim’s practice, which examines the journey of the African immigrant community through everyday details: home is made, identity affirmed. Her portraitures present permanent acts of balance in a search for equilibrium between tradition and adoption.
Daniel Tetteh Nartey experiments with color and surrealism as his disembodied figures urge a recognition and consolidation of societal structures through embodiment. In the discrete blue body parts, a path opens for the viewer to express agency in assembling. the constituent parts into a whole.
Home is Here, Too is complemented by another exhibition featuring work by artists from Accra, Ghana: Accra! The Rise of a Global Art Community, on view at Columbus Museum of Art Oct. 6, 2023–Jan. 28, 2024. This show also is curated by Gaisie and Ibel (in partnership with Deidre Hamlar, Curator at Large at CMA).
Read more at beelergallery.org.