|Child of orange_seller_in_Bolga_Market_Bolgatanga (Northern Ghana)|
Black artists and the creative process fascinate me. Probably, I suspect, because I'm not all that creative. I stumbled upon this lecture about art, globalization and hybridity by Senam Okudzeto, a Ghanaian artist and activist. Senam is the founder of something called Art in Social Structures. Her talk is titled "Art, ego and effectiveness: constructive challenges for social sculpture in the age of social networking." Once the lecture gets going, Senam shares lots of compelling stories about art, architecture, and innovation in Ghana; some of the challenges that impact Ghana's artistic landscape; and open-ended suggestions as to how this landscape might expand and enrich our notions of globalization. She shares images of what she calls "at risk architecture." These are little-known structures in Ghana that are of important historical value, but in disrepair and in danger of being lost due to lack of funding for maintenance. She also talks about the cultural practice of burying deceased family members in the walls of homes (I was intrigued by this practice, but I was unable to find any mention of it online) and she concludes with a brilliant discussion of a local innovation--a metal stand used by Ghanaian market women to display their oranges (in the local language of Akan, an orange seller is called ankaa wura). Its a smart conversation about an ubiquitous object that, according to Senam, only appeared in Ghana within the last 20 years. Compellingly, she transforms these localized utilitarian objects into globalized objects of artistic consumption. Versions of the orange stands now circulate around the world as a part of her art exhibits.