Museum Arnhem presents the exhibition Stormy Weather: climate change & social justice
27 July to 13 October at Museum Arnhem
Serge Attukwei Clottey (1985, Ghana) calls his work”Afrogallonism”, a play on Africa and the yellow gallons’, the omnipresent yellow plastic jerry cans that cause major problems in Ghana. The jerry cans were originally used to transport cooking oil from West to Africa, when Clottey was young, they were repurposed to water reservoirs, They are called ‘Kufuor Gallons; After John Agyekum Kufuor,who was president of Ghana at the beginning of the 21st century and massively distributed the gallons amongst the population. During the frequent periods of water scarcity in many part of the country, people had to travel long distance to get the water and carry it back home in yellow jerry cans.
The amount of gallons, however, far exceeds the availability of water with which they can be filled due to the increasing water shortage in the country, together with other plastic litter, they were lying on the street and on the beach, decaying and falling apart in small parts. This way they are not only threatening nature also the sanitary infrastructure with serious consequences for public health, the plastic waste is a worldwide problem, but is felt extra in Ghana, where there are only few possibilities for recycling.
Especially for the exhibition, Attukwei Clottey made a monumental work of used yellow jerry cans that he cut into piece that were then melted , drilled and stitched together, the life size work function like sunny yellow but at the same time ominous curtain inside the church.
The yellow color of the jerry can has a symbolic meaning for Attukwei Clottey because it reminds him of yellow or golden strips in Ghanaian flag that symbolize the wealth of resources in the soil of his country.
The Dutch and British settlers therefore called the coastal area of present day Ghana “Gold Coast” the place where the European rulers also built many forts to take enslaved people to Latin America and the Caribbean to work on the plantation.
Attukwei Clottey titled the work in his native language Ga, the most widely spoken language in Ghana’s capital Accra.
GBOR TSUI/Visitor’s Heart (2019) Sculptures made of yellow gallons, 6X3’ m. courtesy of the artist. Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation and GYNP Gallery, Berlin. The work has been made possible by the generous support of the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF).