Entertainment of Friday, 12 February 2016
Nana Kofi Acquah, a suave well-travelled Ghanaian photographer has kept the objectives of the 4th World Conference on Women held in the Chinese capital of Beijing in 1995 alive with a crusade that has unearthed women in diverse circumstances through the power of imagery.
One of a few artists who has tirelessly ensured the dynamism and development of photography in Ghana, his photos are masked by protests, replete with criticism, veiled in hope and celebration and characterised by subtle confrontation.
Acquah’s work, which is currently on display at the Alliance Française in Accra, shows him as a master craftsman with images that effectively capture cultural values, emotion, achievement and resilience while commenting on stereotyping.
Titled ‘Don’t Call Me Beautiful’, the exhibition provides a factual account of the situation of the African woman – victories, woes, achievements, hopes, distress – and most importantly – how she gracefully braces herself and handles them.
Also known as the African Male Feminist, he goes beyond mere documentation – indeed his pictures reveal a particular attention to detail alongside intense emotions and broad conceptualised planes of colour which reaches extremes in images such as “Women of Power” and “Cashew Nut Girls”.
Yet another photo, a portrait of an aged woman, recall the old tradition of body painting while unearthing a set of eyes that gaze at the viewer with wisdom, pain, sorrow, joy, courage, despair, confidence and experience.
Undeniably, cohesiveness and singularity in his work are quite phenomenal. Although they appear simple, his photos are complex and intellectually detailed as they radiate an atmosphere of active calm and subtle agitation.
With a remarkable use of light, Acquah, who is noted as a torchbearer in the repositioning of Africa through photography, has managed to place the spotlight on women not only through exhibitions, but also interviews and crusades in the media.
The exhibition ends on Wednesday, March 9.