This past August, Edleeca Thompson, PhD Humanities Candidate and O’Donnell Institute Fellow, spent two weeks in Accra, Ghana, for the 17th Triennial Symposium on African Art. The Symposium was sponsored by the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) and Brookhaven College and hosted by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. This was the first time in its 50-year history that the conference has been held in Africa and about 400 scholars, art historians, archaeologists, curators, and teachers from all over the world were in attendance. The Conference was particularly relevant for Edleeca’s work exploring the politics of displaying African art and the ways museums mediate presentation of the art between its contextual significance and the meaning for which it was originally produced.
Traveling with Dr. Roslyn Walker, Chief Curator and the Margaret McDermott Curator of African Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, Edleeca attended a variety of lectures and talks including topics on African art history, Diaspora studies, contemporary African visual arts and performance, museum and collections practices, as well as other fields pertaining to African life and culture.
While in Accra, Edleeca also attended the opening reception for Phyllis Galembo’s Fancy Dress Masquerade exhibit at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, and visited many contemporary artists’ studios and galleries. In addition, Edleeca visited Cape Coast Castle, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, the Manhyia Palace and Prempeh II Museum, Bonwire Kente Village, and the famous Kente cloth and bronze casting workshops in the Ashanti region of Central Ghana.