HD Video, 2013, 06:15
On listening. Created during a cultural immersion artist residency with NKA Foundation at Abetenim Arts Village in Ghana. Students perform a dance and drum segment incorporated in the piece that would traditionally be performed for the Village Chief. The title comes from the meaning behind symbols carved into the walls of an ancient Ashanti shrine where forgetting is just as much an important part of life as remembering.
I chose to go to Ghana for the artist residency as an American to pay homage to the lives altered by the slave trade– Ghana’s shoreline still holds the castles of the Gold Coast– and as a personal act of healing from our collective past.
Years later, I discovered that I have a splash of Congolese blood in my DNA and that made this work all the more meaningful to me as many of the people who were captured came from the Congo by the Ashanti kings, held captive in Ghana, and sold to the Europeans who then transported the people to the Americas. The castles on the Gold Coast hold many local shrines and memorial plaques by Ghanaian and other world leaders vowing never to allow that to happen again.
Thank you: Ajua Christiana, Frank Appiah Kubi, Dance and Drum team at Abetenim Jr. High School, the Builder Brothers, Evans the Well-digger, Barthosa at the NKA Foundation, and the other people I engaged with around the village.
Thank you to generous funders of the project: Laura Grantmyre, Bill & Ricki Grantmyre, Sandra Campagna Pisano, Heather Timney, Miranda Maynard, Colleen Lowry, Karen Sweeney, Elise Mravunac, Laura Marie Souther, Susan Rotondo, Tim and Toni Fussell.