HIDDEN REALMS AND SHADOWS, 21 OCTOBER – 02 DECEMBER, 2021
Like my previous work titled The Wonderland (2016), Hidden Realms and Shadows is an ecosphere which exists in an author-conceived world. It is a state of being curious about my practice and getting lost at the same time. Exploring different mediums, wondering, ready to figure something out.
On view from October 21 – December 02, 2021, Theresah Ankomah’s series of paintings and installations, titled Hidden Realms and Shadows, reveal her interest in Ghanaian basketry and her quest to discover untold stories behind the Kenaf baskets in relation to trade, underpinning issues of geopolitics, gender and capitalism that resonate in the everyday usage of these materials and objects.
Imported into the country from Niger, Ankomah’s repurposed Kenaf baskets are made up of palm leaves, jute and rope-rattan dyed with sudine. In Ghana, the Kenaf baskets are used to store onions, cabbages, cocoyam, and mangoes. Ankomah is interested in rediscovering and re-contextualizing the complexities of weaving to discover and tell untold stories of its process, technique, and practice. Hidden Realms and Shadows, magnifies this practice of weaving which has moved beyond the construction of these objects to view its dynamic nature, sustainability, economic, trade, and attitudes.
Material metaphors and vibrant aesthetic forms characterize Ankomah’s installations, which she perceives to be archival objects which have passed through various boarders, cultures, processes, different owners, and many hands both named and anonymous. The installed forms are reassembled baskets, manipulated through weaving and stitching, thus transforming the baskets into new tapestry and intricate designs. The installations form entangled and complex visual imageries, concocting enigmas, and curiosity.
Ankomah transfers the textures of her weaving and tapestries unto canvases through a conscious practise of twisting cords, yarns, and stitching, intensifying tactile three-dimensional experiences. Onion baskets merged and screened unto colorful canvases with thread stitched directly onto the centre of the canvas form an array of both visual and palpable designs. However, the designs transmit a deeper meaning despite their vibrant appearance. The series of paintings are aerial views of the Ghanaian urban landscape exposing its weak metropolitan system and poor city management.