Ghanaian artist aims to spark debate on Warrington’s identity with new exhibition
A Ghanaian artist now living in Warrington hopes his new exhibition will get people talking about the town’s identity and place in the world.
Kwame Akpokavi, who has lived in the UK for over 20 years and now calls Warrington home, is proud to announce his first exhibition in the town.
Searchers, a collection of traditional Ghanaian fabric collages now on display at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, explores the notion of identity and challenges visitors to consider their own, as well as that of the town and the country as a whole.
Kwame came to England to study at Manchester University two decades ago and finds himself caught between his place of birth and the place where he now lives.
This is illustrated in one of the exhibits titled Diaspora Dilemmas.
He said: “We’re all searching for something – our own identity, our place in the world.
“I’d like people to come to the exhibition and ask themselves questions and to think about what identity we want for Warrington, what we want others to see when they look at our town.
“This exhibition comes at a time of big change for the town and the country as a whole; we’re trying to regenerate the town centre, we want to bring the town to the fore.
“I love it here and I want it to be a place people come to for art, there’s an awful lot of potential here.
“Warrington’s a small town sandwiched between Liverpool and Manchester but we can still shine as bright as we want to.”
Kwame’s work has been exhibited around the UK and in Ghana but Searchers is his first exhibition in Warrington.
“I’m really excited to be exhibiting in Warrington; I want everyone to come and see it.
“I ask questions with my work, I want people to engage with it and come up with their own conclusions.
“I like to challenge myself; I want to paint but I don’t want to use traditional materials,” he added. “I call it ‘painting with fabric’.
“Back home in Ghana there’s a strong textile tradition, we use a lot of appliqué for example in flags, carnival costumes and traditional clothing; patterns are sewn into the fabric.
“My style doesn’t necessarily need to be aesthetically pleasing but I want it to be intellectually stimulating; I want people to ask ‘what’s this all about?’”