A major exhibition of work by German-Ghanaian artist Zohra Opoku, in collaboration with a Ghana based community-led sustainable design initiative, The Revival (founded by Kwamena Boison & Yayra Agbofah), has officially been unveiled at the Red Clay Studio in Tamale, Ghana.
The public exhibition known as TRANSFER(S) is organised by Osnabrück Kunsthalle and opened in Germany earlier in July 2023, with a monumental installation of Ibrahim Mahama’s montaged tapestry of strip-woven textiles, decommissioned jute sacks and batakaris (traditional garments cumulated from the northern region of Ghana). Now in its second phase, TRANSFER(S) will showcase the collaborative body of work led by renowned artists Zohra Opoku with The Revival (Founded by Kwamena Boison & Yayra Agbofah), For Zohra Opoku, this exhibition represents a continuation and an extension of her ‘WHO IS WEARING MY T-SHIRT’ series, which highlighted the interconnected work and intersection sustainability, trade and textile.
Kwamena Boison & Yayra Agbofah, founders and respectively Head of Design and Creative Director at The Revival, commented, “Through TRANSFER(S), we want to harness the arts and creativity to address all the difficulties that we noticed in our society, especially tackling the issues of climate change and climate action. We believe that it is crucial for artists and arts to further raise awareness. The installation goes beyond simple information sharing to deliberately using the aesthetic experience to empower the audience to imagine plural sustainable futures.”
“Identity and the sense of self in relation to different aspects of society, it is an important concept underpinning this exhibition. This is done by referencing the myriad ways individual styles and dress are closely linked to cultural displays of pride, social and economic status. The usage of secondhand garments and imported fabrics, such as table cloth and bed sheets, aim to address broader questions on the role of custom dress across communities, governance and commerce” added Opoku.
Yayra also added “collaborating with Zohra Opoku on TRANSFER(S) is a bold endeavour to use art and creativity as a powerful force for change. This exhibition goes beyond aesthetics, delving into societal challenges, climate action, and the interconnectedness of identity. This project transcends mere information sharing, inviting the audience to imagine a world where identity and self intertwine with cultural pride, social status, and the transformative power of upcycling”.
Zohra Opoku’ TRANSFER(S)’s exhibition explores the relation between the second-hand clothing industry and imports in Sub-Saharan Africa, the modern African textile industry and traditional African attire and creating awareness about the upcycled global textile waste. The project will bring together other artists, weavers, cultural icons to discuss the exhibition and it coincides with a jubilee year for Osnabrück: 2023 marks 375 years after the Westphalian Peace Treaty.
Ms. Opoku is a champion of creativity and her work examines the politics of personal identity, sustainability and climate action through historical, cultural, and socio-economic influences. She repeatedly integrates family heirlooms and her own self-image into her visual observations of Ghana’s cultural memory, embracing and celebrating the complexity, opacity, and tensions that characterise contemporary Ghana.