Asante Folklore and Kumasi Kiosk Architecture:a Visual Exploration of Hybridity and Mythography

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This studio-based research improvises on the architectonics of Kumasi kiosks. I present the ensuing body of artefacts as a working prototype which joins on-going cultural conversations on hybridity in contemporary art. The typical Kumasi kiosk is referenced as a site for negotiation of boundaries in its design, setting and function, but I have also made allusions to suggestions of hybridity and boundary negotiation in the polyvalent structure of Asante myth and folklore. I made a close study of three hundred kiosks located in the urban quarters of Kumasi. I also engaged such thinkers on hybrid spaces as Homi Bhabha , Jacques Derrida, Michael Foucault, Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, etc, to discourse on Asante mythology. I laid emphasis on the myth of ɔhyeεni (ɔhene-king), a patriarchal figure who negotiates boundaries, Asante and Akan filial kinship narrative from Asante history. I employed a personal technique of painting, -Aberphoh, which is a reconfiguration of abstract expressionist and surrealist genres. Asante art forms laden with their myths, some of which visually portrayed mythology, especially the totems, were also studied as the basis upon which art works were recreated in the form of paintings on sculptural structures created with plywood. I used the Asante myth of Abubu-mmabaa to explore the structural dialogue of inside and outside in my hybridized artefact. I have also presented an iconographic catalogue of totems and symbols which appear on the inner and outer surfaces of my structures. I present my project as an artefact to be contained in a gallery space as well as a structure or site which contains other artefacts. Like the Kumasi kiosk, these structures are not intended to be permanently site-specific. Each is collapsible and foldable and thus portable to any possible location for re-erection and exhibition. It is a cross genre installation interfacing painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry and performance.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of PhD. (Painting & Sculpture)