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David Adjaye to design Ghana’s first Venice Art Biennale pavilion

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David Adjaye is to design Ghana’s first national pavilion for the Venice Art Biennale, which takes place later this year

The architect has been commissioned by Ghanaian president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to design the country’s contribution to the 58th Venice Art Biennale, which runs from 11 May to 24 November.

The pavilion is titled Ghana Freedom, after the song composed by ET Mensah on the eve of the country’s independence from the UK in 1957. The building will explore the ‘trajectories and legacies’ of emancipation.

Located in Venice’s historic Arsenale, the pavilion will take the form of ’elliptically-shaped interconnected spaces’ and will be clad in ’locally sourced earth.’

It will feature work by six leading artists and, according to the pavilion’s curator, film-maker Nana Oforiatta Ayim, will explore a narrative of ‘finally moving out of the “postcolonial” moment into one we have yet to envision.’

Ibrahim Mahama's Non Orientable Paradise Lost 1667, Brazil 2017

Ibrahim Mahama’s Non Orientable Paradise Lost 1667, Brazil 2017

Source: © Ibrahim Mahama

Ibrahim Mahama’s Non Orientable Paradise Lost 1667, Brazil 2017

Adjaye said: ‘Being able to show the diversity and creativity of Ghana on an international scale is an incredible achievement and one which showcases the talent that we have to offer.

‘The commitment and inspiration shown by the president in commissioning this pavilion is a testament to what our country has to offer the art community.’

The pavilion will showcase work including work by the London-based painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, prominent photographer Felicia Abban and large-scale installations by sculptor El Anatsui and artist Ibrahim Mahama

It will also feature a three-channel film projection by artist, film-maker and writer John Akomfrah and a video sculpture by Selasi Awusi Sosu.

Ghana’s minister of tourism, arts and culture Catherine Afeku said the pavilion was a ‘historic moment for us in Ghana’.

She added: ‘Arts and culture are the very soul of a nation, and with our maiden entry to the Venice Biennale, under the leadership of His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I can say, we have arrived.’

After the closure of the exhibition in November, Ghana Freedom will travel from Venice to Accra.

Exterior perspective adjaye ghana

Exterior perspective adjaye ghana

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