Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, a Ghanaian sculptor, is using his skills to create the Ancestor Project – portraits of Africans who were imprisoned, kidnapped or coerced into slavery.
Using the ancient Akan tradition of creating portraits of the dead, Kwame wants to show people how great their community was before slavery.
In an interview with BBC, Akoto-Bamfo stated that he’s trying to portray what our ancestors went through, trying to immerse in the enslavement experience… all cut across 400 years.
Akoto-Bamfo further stated that his sculptures have various narratives and are various people from different tribes.
“We have various states in which they were before they were captured. There were those who were prisoners of war, those who were just purely kidnapped. There were those who were coerced. Those who were clueless as to what was really happening,” he said in the interview.
He added that: “There are just so many narratives and it’s not a single story, hence the decision to make it on this scale. So that even though we cannot as many sculptures as our ancestors who we lost, we will have a clear representation of what really happened.”
When asked why his sculptures are all human heads, he stated that they use human heads because the arts pays homage to the ancient Akan practice of creating portraits of the dead.
Akoto-Bamfo wants the installation to be the point of reference for us to realise how great we are, what went wrong and the possibility of us getting our greatness back.
Watch the interview below:
"There are just so many narratives and it's not a single story, hence the decision to make it on this scale."
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) June 25, 2019