October 25 , 2017 – Kwame Labi

Visiting International Scholar
History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
Senior Research Fellow, University of Ghana, Legon

“Defending our Honour: Art and Conflict Among the Fante Asafo Companies
of Southern Ghana”

The Fante asafo of southern Ghana, until colonial rule were a
traditional military organisation involved in the socio-cultural life and defence of their
communities. Having observed the European use of flags on the Gold
Coast from the seventeenth century, and what the forts and castles came to symbolise
by the nineteenth century created flags and constructed monuments and
shrines, and used these in new contexts.

This presentation discusses how the Asafo used these flags and
monuments in such manner that they became contentious leading to
tensions, feuds and fights. The presentation concludes with an
examination if these art works have any relevance and a future in
Ghana’s modern art culture.