Tue 28 September, 2021 | 14.00-17.00 CET

work meeting

#3 Decoso Meeting:

Reflexive Tema and Global Elsewheres

Venue: Online


Artists, researchers and curators Ato Annan and Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh offer a report from their collective research Reflexive Tema and Global Elsewheres … : The Tema Printing Press (a.k.a Government Printing Press – Tema), completed in 1964, emerged from Ghana’s educational programme in line with its post-war industrialisation agenda during its first Republic (1960-1966). The Press— realised through an agreement between the government of Ghana and the German Democratic Republic via Polygraph Export G.M.B.H. Leipzig— functioned as one of the state’s wings of printing dedicated to producing newspapers, literary publications, and educational materials such as textbooks for schools. As one local newspaper at the time put it, “with the establishment of the Tema Press, Ghana has made a big leap in the promotion of literary and cultural  currents in the African revolution with the ultimate goal of Continental Union Government of Africa.” Beginning with this national publishing establishment as its muse, the presentation by Ato Annan and Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh investigates the relevance of the state-run institution to the emancipatory project of political, economic, and intellectual independence, while coming to terms with the relations between Ghana and the so-called Eastern Bloc during the mid-to-late 20th century. The presentation dovetails into understanding the zeitgeist of architecture in Ghana at the time, from its post-Independence International Style orientation into Tropical Modernist variants. Critic and curator René Boer contributes to this exchange as a respondent. 



Contributor Biographies

  • Ato Annan

    Ato Annan is an artist based in Accra, Ghana. With an interest in painting, installation, sound and video, he combines his artistic practice with curating projects with the Foundation for Contemporary Art – Ghana [FCA-Ghana]. He has also worked with Mmofra Foundation on their play space interventions for children in communities in Accra, amongst many other projects in Ghana and beyond.

  • Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh

    Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh academically trained as an artist and now practices as a curator and critic based in Kumasi, Ghana. Ohene-Ayeh’s work is compelled by the radical hope proposed by artist-pedagogue karî’kạchä seid’ou to “transform art from the status of commodity to gift”. He led the curatorial team for Akutia: Blindfolding the Sun and the Poetics of Peace (A Retrospective of Agyeman Ossei ‘Dota’) organised by Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) Tamale and Red Clay in Ghana (2020-2021).

Related Study Material

  • Decoso Meeting #3: Video documentation

Research Terms