Pamela Clarkson and Atta Kwami are painters and printmakers who spend their time between their homes and studios in Loughborough, UK and Kumasi, Ghana. Both artists produce artworks which refer to architecture, fabrics, tools, people and place, combining bright and striking lines, shapes, patterns and colours. Pamela and Atta make art with an attitude of hope.
‘Kena Hetuna, Open and Closed’ refers to the rhythms of the marketplace, a social network made up of family businesses, ebullient characters, sales talk, signage and digital adverts, bend down boutiques and makeshift stalls open to the elements. For Pamela and Atta the marketplace symbolises the international exchange and acceptance they have experienced when living between Loughborough and Kumasi.
"Early in the morning, before it got too hot, I went drawing in the local covered market. At that hour the stalls were silent. Later the women would come, having finished work in the house, to set-out their food stuffs. In the absence of the usual colourful crowd, all was dusty-grey. As I drew the rows of tables, rough-hewn cupboards and upturned stools balanced precariously on top of one another, I thought about safety and danger, and unpredictability. Tables supporting the piled-up furniture were sturdy; they were made from wide planks of hard wood that retained the markings of the trees they once were, and the cuts and judders of the sawyers who fashioned them. Loughborough market is not so different. Maybe the heavy metal structure of the stalls appear more stable but unexpected rough winds and driving rain can shake the awnings and close business."
Pamela Clarkson. 20 January 2019, Kumasi, Ghana.
"Kiosks stalls and sheds are the ubiquitous forms of architecture and hoardings that characterise the urban and rural landscape of Ghana. The central installation in the Modern Painters, New Decorators space is a poetic interpretation of the organic, wood and metal kiosks which are made from shipping containers that are popular. The idea of form is important to my practice, if only in highlighting the makeshift, temporary-permanent sheds, stalls and shops that are a common feature of markets in Kumasi, Ghana and Loughborough, UK. Beyond the artistic concerns with line, form and colour, the shed or kiosk form is a marker in socio-economic transactions. The creative artist, in making work which pushes visual language in new directions, makes the task of definition more difficult."
Atta Kwami. 20 January 2019, Kumasi, Ghana.