Ghanaian artist creates haunting sculptures of slaves in Accra lake

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Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo has created haunting sculptures of slaves in a lake in memory of African ancestors who drowned as they were being transported across the Atlantic Ocean as slaves.

His Ancestor Project portrays Africans who were imprisoned, kidnapped or coerced into slavery.

According to BBC News Africa, using the ancient Akan tradition of creating portraits of the dead, Akoto-Bamfo wants to show people how great their community was before slavery.

The Ancestor Project seeks to use art and performance to empower, educate and promote an interest in African heritage among the youth.

Akoto-Bamfo created the pseudo-art movement.

His outdoor sculpture dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Transatlantic slave trade is on display at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice that opened in 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama.

The work is directly connected to a larger installation of the same name made up of more than 1 500 portraits of Africans in the diaspora.

According to the website Cultured Mag, his ongoing installation, Nkyinkyim, of cement effigies are embedded in a field in Nuhalenya Ada, a town outside Accra.

Akoto-Bamfo’s heads show fear, sadness, disgust or surprise and capture the pain of the slave trade. The sculptures depict young and old, male and female, as well as members of different tribes.

Akoto-Bamfo’s graduate research was in multidisciplinary eclecticism and he has worked as a creative director combining traditional media, fine arts (stone, wood, terracotta and concrete sculpture and acrylic, watercolour paintings) and digital art, digital painting, 3D modelling and digital illustration.

Between 1650 and 1860 approximately 10 to 15 million slaves were forcibly transported from the western African coast to the Americas. Most, packed like sardines onto ships, endured a perilous journey to the West Indies, Central America and South America.

The majority of the slaves transported to Virginia were Senegambians (what is today Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mali), followed by the Akan people of the Gold Coast (Ghana), the neighbouring Windward Coast (now Ivory Coast) and others from the Bight of Benin (today’s eastern Nigeria and Cameroon), writes Cultured Mag.

African News Agency (ANA)

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