Kofi Dawson’s works debut at 2019 SCCA-Tamale, starting Fri

The exhibition “Galle Winston Kofi Dawson: In Pursuit of something ‘Beautiful’, perhaps…” is billed to debut at this year’s Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) in Tamale.

The artist run project space, exhibition and research hub, an initiative of world-renowned artist Ibrahim Mahama, begins its Tamale event on Friday, March 15.

SCCA-Tamale intends, with its diverse programming and research interests, to spotlight significant moments in Ghanaian and international art in a communal space, organisers have said.

A press release said the event, which is to be dedicated to art and cultural practices which emerged in the 20th century, will debut works of the man who coined the term Afro-Journalism to describe his socially committed art practice.

Kofi Dawson’s multifaceted drawings, paintings, prints and objects, as well as his perplexing texts are saturated archives, which are typical examples of his Afro-Journalism.

They become likened to crystalline portents that delicately weave vast realms for curious minds to probe. In a piece of drawing or painting, we experience a density of hatches, cross-hatches; a skillful configuration of optical space and form.  The unsettling straightforwardness of subject matter may sometimes be foiled by witty double takes that offer a visual spectacle as though one is holding up a diamond to the light. The experience is sublime.

Kofi Dawson’s life and work effectively condense an attitude of tenacity characteristic of a modernist ethos, and an openness to uncertainty that drives contemporary life.

Despite his potentially gigantic stature in the Ghanaian context and the fact that he has participated in a tall list of local and international workshops, seminars, residencies and exhibitions across the West African region and elsewhere, Dawson has remained, to quite a large extent, very independent of the international art world.

This can be attributed in part, to the dearth of a robust institutional support system for (Contemporary) art in Ghana, and on the other hand, to his enigmatic  disposition in relation to the art world.

He participates enthusiastically, even to obsessive levels within the Ghanaian Art scene, attending exhibition openings, contributing work to group exhibitions, facilitating or taking part in workshops.

At such events, whether it is an art exhibition, talk or seminar, as an ardent participant, Dawson is constantly making copious notes.

But when it comes to issues of self-promotion or pseudo-artistic posturing, he is extremely distant from the scene.

A fair amount of his artistic output has been collected, bought or donated and can be found in a number of notable collections.

It is out of this massive legacy that we make humble selections to share with the world.

Interactions with GWK Dawson are scheduled for Saturday with the event expected to end on August 15, 2019.


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