July 12, 2019 - Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation - Serge Attukwei Clottey: Stormy Weather
July 12, 2019

Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation

Serge Attukwei Clottey, Gbortsui, 2019.

Serge Attukwei Clottey
Stormy Weather
Climate change & social justice
July 27–October 6, 2019

St. Walburgis Church
Sint Walburgisplein 1
6811 Arnhem
The Netherlands

www.museumarnhem.nl
durjoybangladesh.org

The Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) assisted Ghanian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey in the production of an artwork which will be featured in the exhibition Stormy Weather on climate change and social justice at the Arnhem Museum (Netherlands). The exhibition looks at climate change in a broad, socio-economic, political context, believing pollution, global warming and their consequences for land, water, air and organisms are related to world’s inequality. For the exhibition a group of international artists from different continents will be asked to show works that reflect on climate issues from their own background and personal perspectives. Through DBF’s efforts, Clottey’s work will afterwards be part of the museum’s permanent collection. 

The DBF was created out of the importance of encouraging artists from all across the global south. Established in 2018, the foundation supports artists who can, with their particular views of our world, generate new ways of shaping it. DBF encourages these artists by supporting relevant exhibitions, publications and residencies, and by donating artworks to renown institutions. With offices in Berlin and Dhaka, DBF connects artists between Asia, Europe and Africa. 

The exhibition at Arnhem can be seen from July until October. It will take place in the Walburgis Church in Arnhem. The museum argues that there is a specific urgency to make this exhibition in the city. Arnhem is a rapidly growing town in the middle of a large natural environment of woods and heathland. How to protect nature and realise sustainable urbanisation is this city’s biggest challenge. 

Serge Attukwei Clottey’s work has won the attention of the Western World. He has been featured on relevant magazines and newspapers,  and several art specific publications. Clottey can be called a multimedia artist: he works with paintings and drawings, installations and performances. The artist’s body of work is in many ways autoreferential. He explores his own personal narratives, connected to the city of Accra, but also investigating personal narratives in general, those that forge collective histories.

Clottey is the creator of AFROGALLONISM, an artistic concept that comments on consumption within modern Africa. Jerrycans, imported to Ghana from Europe and Asia carrying cooking oil, are used to store water pumped from the soil in regions of short water supply. This situation contributes to plastic waste and fails to present a sustainable alternative. Through working with gallon’s fragments, Clottey creates tapestries out of plastic pieces with the help of a community studio. These sculptural installations inquire about the economical and social situation having to be faced by many people in this planet. The result is aesthetically mindblowing: in some aerial shots the streets of Accra turn yellow from the jerrycans’ plastic fragments. In other versions of the same methodology Clottey creates tapestry-like wall-hanging artworks.

The Arnhem exhibition, as well as Serge Attukwei Clottey’s work, focuses on a present and urgent matter, that connects our world disregarding boarders and ethnicities. The exhibition’s broader approach, focusing not only on geographical factors but also on political and social ones, matches DBF’s mission, so that the foundation felt the necessity of collaborating. Furthermore, Clottey’s work addresses social issues that are personally interesting for DBF’s founder, Mr. Durjoy Rahman, since both countries, Ghana and Bangladesh, present similar challenges. 

Mr. Rahman remembers that jerrycans and gallons helped to forge the landscape of his city and generation. In Dhaka water supply was not common to every household, forcing citizens to pump water from the underground and store it in recipients. Later, the supply situation in the city improved but it didn’t change in densely populated areas with low income, so that until nowadays jerrycans are used by a considerable fraction of the population in Bangladesh. 

This coincidence affects not only the home land of Mr. Rahman, but several other countries in South Asia. Therefore, when Mr. Rahman saw the works of Serge Attukwei Clottey, through which the artist manages to reduce residues by turning them into art, they instantly caught their attention.

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