Ghanaian Artist, Dr. Serge Attukwei Clottey becomes the first Ghanaian Artist to exhibit his work at Desert X at Coachella Valley in California, United States. Paving the way for numerous Ghanaian Artists, Attukwei Clottey’s work, “Afrogallonism” which is inspired by water shortages in Ghana. Attukwei Clottey’s work will be installed outside of the city, Desert X officially opens on March 12, 2021.
Desert X pops up only once every other year, drawing the curious out to drive through a series of free, open-air pieces installed in the desert landscape. Desert X is produced by The Desert Biennial, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in California, conceived to produce recurring international contemporary art exhibitions that activate desert locations through site-specific installations by acclaimed international artists. Its guiding purposes and principles include presenting public exhibitions of art that respond meaningfully to the conditions of desert locations, the environment and indigenous communities; promoting cultural exchange and education programs that foster dialogue and understanding among cultures and communities about shared artistic, historical, and societal issues; and providing an accessible platform for artists from around the world to address ecological, cultural, spiritual, and other existential themes.
Dr. Serge Attukwei Clottey is known for work that examines the powerful agency of everyday objects. Working across installation, performance, photography, and sculpture, Clottey explores personal and political narratives rooted in histories of trade and migration. Based in Accra and working internationally, Clottey refers to his work as “Afrogallonism”, a concept that confronts the question of material culture through the utilization of yellow gallon containers.
Cutting, drilling, stitching and melting found materials, Clottey’s sculptural installations are bold assemblages that act as a means of inquiry into the languages of form and abstraction. Utilising flattened Kuffuor gallon, jute sacks, discarded car tires and wood pieces, he forms abstract formations onto which he inscribes patterns and text. In doing so, he elevates the material into a powerful symbol of Ghana’s informal economic system of trade and re-use. While some surfaces resemble local textile traditions such as Kente – a key reference in west African Modernism throughout the 20th century – others refer to barcodes and feature Chinese characters in reference to the emergence of new power structures in Ghana. In Clottey’s drawings, the artist explores a formalist approach, depicting disjointed figures and faces, not unlike the visions of nude women under Cubism, a European movement which drew heavily from traditional African tribal sculpture.
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