Until 28 October, 1957 Gallery is presenting “Everything You Touch Is Gold” by Ghanaian artist Yaw Owusu. Through a striking and innovative artistic practice, he presents a new series of works celebrating the cultural richness of the traditional craft of Ghanaian kente. The art centre will be hosting an exhibition featuring a wide variety of works, all of which relate to economic issues and traditional Ghanaian culture, giving visitors an opportunity to discover the crafts of this region of Africa.
Yaw Owusu began his artistic career as a painter and turned his art towards the traditional, creating portraits of political figures, popular culture and royalty. He is best known for his use of unusual materials, notably pesewa coins, introduced in Ghana in 2007 to combat rising inflation. This element of his art practice now serves to question Ghana’s economic and political independence, while also addressing the changing financial structures that govern contemporary life.
The Ghanaian artist also includes natural materials such as wood in his work, in order to show the transition from a natural world to a manufactured one in the precarious context of changing global finances. These works are mainly sculptural installations made up of found objects, transforming everyday materials of lesser market value, which nonetheless symbolise productive power and global finance, into art objects of rare beauty.
In her exhibition “Everything You Touch Is Gold“, Yaw Owusu presents a selection of coins on wooden panels and canvases. These coins are arranged in a captivating way, creating a combination of colours, textures and abstract patterns that allude to the traditional craft of Ghanaian kente. Inspired by the process used to dye traditional fabrics, the Ghanaian artist uses copper-coated steel pieces to achieve the compositions and natural colours he wants on his canvases. He uses the geometric shape of these coins to create concentric patterns, symbolising the universal democratic unity of economic exchange that he wishes to highlight.
The works on display represent a stimulating exploration of the interconnected notions of capital, value, commerce, exchange, currency and design. Through a disparate tapestry, Yaw Owusu questions value systems, both as a constructive form and as a driving force in our society. It is presented as an alterable organism, evolving through different historical and socio-political concepts.
Yaw Owusu’s “Everything You Touch Is Gold“, far from addressing notions of recycling, highlights the deterioration of economic conditions and the persistence of colonial domination, even years after the country’s independence. With a subtle artistic approach, Yaw Owusu reveals the country’s economic and political issues, while exploring the crafts and traditional culture of her homeland in innovative ways.