Ghana presents first national pavilion at Venice Biennale 2019

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, The Hours Behind You, 2011, oil on canvas, 98 3/8 x 118 1/8 inches. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY

This year, Ghana is to present its first national pavilion at Venice Biennale. Titled after Ghanaian musician E.T. Mensah’s song ‘Ghana Freedom’, the pavilion will include works by six artists that explore the ‘legacies and trajectories of freedom’: large-scale installations, photography, painting, film and video will be presented by El Anatsui, Ibrahim Mahama, Felicia Abban, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, John Akomfrah and Selasi Awusi Sosu.

The pavilion, sponsored by Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and designed by David Adjaye, will be located at the Arsenale, and will be accompanied by a publication. In a statement, the pavilion’s curator Nana Oforiatta Ayim has said: ‘It means a lot for us to have our first national pavilion at such a narrative-building event as the Venice Biennale, especially at this moment. The conversation about nations is broadening in the face of issues of migrations; of us redefining our connections to our diasporas throughout our ‘year of return’; of discussing what it might mean to have our cultural objects returned, and how we thus might redefine ourselves in the world; and of finally moving out of the ‘postcolonial’ moment into one we have yet to envision.’

4 March 2019