“Nkyene Nkamfo ne ho” exhibition held at forecourt of Bonwire Kente Museum and Receptive Centre

By Fred Awaah II Contributor
Beauty & Fashion “Nkyene Nkamfo ne ho” exhibition held at forecourt of Bonwire Kente Museum and Receptive Centre

In this innovative intervention that situates itself at the site of one of Ghana’s notable places for Kente weaving, Isaac Gyasi, the artist, facilitator, researcher, presents to the public, an interactive situation in which his young children and a lady who is a Fugu weaver at Ejisu join him in performing a variety of tasks. Among these tasks is also the act of weaving. On three local (indigenous) looms and a newly built indigenous loom set up within the forecourts of the newly inaugurated Bonwire Museum of Kente, the weavers engage in simple plain and a complex weaving techniques on the newly built loom by the artist.

Some of the works are woven with such Adinkrah symbolism as Ɔhene aforohyƐn, amongst others. There are installations of royal paraphernalia, as well as fabrics that have been produced through inventive processes, inspired by the very techniques that are employed by indigenous weavers. The strips that Gyasi and his children weave, some of the yarns have been vat-dyed, rendering the pallet rather muted. He employs the old techniques of weaving Ghana (kente, kete, fugu) in other to teach the young ones for them to know the weaving tradition. The four looms add to their original functionality, sculptural, pictorial and the new dimensions too. And these are some of the details that the artist is pointing us to. The long strip pattern tails of the warp are mounted and displayed by children of the artist during the exhibition.

His prow motif was to make sure we salvage the weaving industry in Ghana as he has observed that if care is not taken with some few years to come weaving will be a thing of the past. This was to demonstrate the essence of teaching the young ones to enable us keep our heritage. He ask the weavers he found in the museum that where is their children? It is important that every weaver tries to teach his sons and daughters. His entire event is transient but a fruitful one to the weavers and the nation at large. It therefore offers a unique experience in a very limited time frame. This brevity, opens up the space for a really focused engagement and conversation. The public interacted with the artists and that was a lively debate. The exhibition “Nhyene nkamfo ne ho” emerges out of Isaac Gyasi’s research-based art practice.

He shared the importance of education as alongside the learning of craft or trade. He emphasized that he had wanted to show leadership by example and to prove that you can instill a skill in a young child whiles the child continue to have formal education too. He thrown a challenge to find out from the various school which his children attend to verify that. He said weaving particular boost up the knowledge of the child when it is instill well. He highlighted to noble department at the KNUST who has helped improve his act of weaving. Even if a native would not improve himself in the act of weaving when he moves to study at the tertiary, whatever skill he learns at the University or any higher should be in the position to help improve and preserve our traditional craft. We should prepare our children’s mind in such a way that if the even we have art disciplines at the tertiary that would help improve or act of weaving. But even if our child would find him or herself at other he or she would know the need to and how best to use that skill or ideas to help salvage our weaving industry.

He sympathized that though kente weaving designs has been imitated putting the industry to a detrimental stage. With that he has want to improve the way weaving is done by bringing out a new loom that will enhance the act of kente, kete, and fugu weaving. He further tries by embellishing the yarns he uses in such a way that it will bring some uniqueness and move the industry into the contemporary art world.

Improving on the metal fugu weaving loom at the northern Ghana to help weave motif or designs in the fugu weaves to improve and change the dynamics.

The choice of reactivating the Bonwire Museum, after it has officially been opened is a bold gesture. Also, by opening up the space for his own children to join in the process and by facilitating the presence of younger colleague artists, we witness a space of potential and continuity. How do we inspire and guide our young ones in such a way that at whatever level, they will be curious about our indigenous modes, means and processes of artistic engagement that also have the potential to inspire them in their future paths? With that he brought some artist who they are also working on embroidery and tradition making of umbrella. Not forgetting a girl child education he introduces Rashidatu Imoro who is a fugu master weaver and ready to adopt the act of kente, and kete weaving into fugu weaving to change the face of fugu weaving.

Apart from the numerous art works Gyasi displayed he was wearing a fugu in which the fabric was made by him with the following philosophy. The fabric was woven with kente and kete ideas of weaving and integrated with fugu woven strips. He said he is serving the information that weavers in Ghana must try and come together, put away their differences and find a good way of coming together to help improve and preserve the act of weaving in Ghana.

This exhibition project is part of the PhD research activities that Isaac Gyasi has undertaken over the past few years. This project is supervised by Prof. kąrî'kachä seid’ou (PHD), Mrs. Dorothy Amuneke (PHD), Bernard Akoi-Jackson (PHD) all from BlaxTarlines at the Department of Painting and Sculpture in KNUST.

Bernard Akoi-Jackson (PhD).
(Curatorial input)
Isaac Gyasi, works as a Principal Technician, at the Department of Indigenous Art and Technology in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi (KNUST). He is also a PhD student in the Department of Painting and Sculpture (KNUST). He has over 21 years of professional art practice in textile designing and weaving. He has exceptional instructional experience in numerous spheres of textiles and its applications in other 2D and 3D areas in Art. His outstanding contributions to textile design education and professional practice as well as innovations in enhancing the functionalities in weaving and fabric colouration are well recognized nationally and gaining recognition globally.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024