|USIA Fulbright Scholar in Ghana|
My work here in Ghana is going well and except for the occasional malaria attack, life is grand.
I arrived in the glorious land of Ghana in October 98. The heat of the Accra hit me like a fist. After a long process of dealing with the customs officer I walked out of Accra's international airport and into a sea of people which seemed to go on for miles directly in front of the front doors of the airport. After 48 hours of being awake, starting the previous day in Cleveland, Ohio, passing through Detroit, Michigan and then Amsterdam I was tired as hell when I finally arrived into the blistering night of Accra. So it was quite a relief to see a man from the USIS cultural affairs office holding a sign with my name written on it. We had a brief greeting and then were off to Osu, where I spent my first night in Ghana. After five or six days in Accra I travelled north to Kumasi where I would be spending the better part of the next year. I took the STC and was let out at the Tech junction with three large bags and there I sat in the hot sun until one of my contacts came walking up to me. I got settled at UST in one of the guest houses and also managed to acquire a studio space in one of the MFA buildings, for I am an artist. My research is focused around a number of traditional shrines around the city of Kumasi and in other areas of Ghana. After getting settled into Ghanaian life, which took a some time, I began to explore some of the shrines and proverbial imagery as well as the architectual symbolism associated with them. I have now spent close to four months in the country and have seen a good deal of the country and area around Kumasi. I have been working first hand with one of the traditional priests associated with a shrine in the city of Kumasi. The paintings and other art works I have been producing are progressing in an interesting way and I am pleased with their development. I am currently working on getting a show together in Accra for some time in the spring. For a time while I was looking for housing I was staying with a professor, but after some time I managed to find a small flat that has been working out quite well.
Traveling around the country has proven a wonderful experience, I have traveled in tro-tros with 30 people, by bus, hitched in cars and big trucks. I have slept under the stars in the north in Bolga, walked in the tops of trees in Kakun Nature Park, walked the halls of the old slave castles in Elminal and Cape Coast and traveled the the distance of the the largest man made lake in the world, the Volta. I am constantly amazed with the country an people of Ghana. I have found a wonderful dialog with many interesting artist and craft people.
Although most of the time spent here in Ghana has been wonderful, there have be some trying times. I came down with Malaria about a month into my stay and yes I have been taking Lariam (mefloquine HCL), I had my wallet stolen at a carnival in Accra, and have seen a man lying dead at the docks of Tema as well as one drowned at Labodi Beach. All in all everything that has taken place in my life since I arrived in Ghana has been a grand experience. I am having a show at the National Gallery of Ghana, in Accra opening on the 17th of June and running throught the 11th of July.