AFROGALLONISM: An artistic concept to explore the relationship between the prevalence of the yellow oil gallons in regards to consumption and necessity in the life of the modern African.
Curated by Makhotso Simone.
Created by up-and-coming artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, the founder of Ghana’s GoLokal performance collective. At the intersection of environmental and social justice, Afrogallonism sits as Attukwei’s wondrous experiment with the ubiquitous yellow gallon containers found throughout Ghana. Known as “Kufuor” gallons, after John Kufuor, the second President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, jerrycans are historically linked to serious water shortages in Accra during his tenure. According to Attukwei the “gallons” originate in Europe, and are brought to Ghana as cooking oil canisters. They are then reused to store water and petrol. Their prevalence in his communities caught Attukwei’s attention, and he began to reimagine the purpose of these objects as part of an artistic movement.
Serge Attukwei Clottey:
"My work combines activism and art, addressing society’s cultural, political, and economic inadequacies in the world. The art implicates both the individual and the government. It urges people into action and attempts to rectify the current state of ignorance. The issues affect the entire world; change starts with the individual. I follow the mantra, “Think Globally, Act Locally.”
As possible in the creation my works – wooden planks that are like individual people. What I encourage others to do in their lives, I do in my art.
Each piece represents one person, one gallon, one tree. Each child carries a gallon.
Each tree has a soul. We all have the potential to save a little more and waste a little less. The pieces are seeped with local meanings and history. Many of the sculptures are marked as individuals with initials, just as many Ghanaians demarcate their plastic buckets with pen or nails. The figures are raw, haunting, and urgent. The grim quality, screaming mouths, and abundance of discarded materials send the message that there is a problem, and it is the viewer’s responsibility to take action."