By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Goethe-Institut Ghana is living up to one of its core mandates by continuing to support artists in the country despite restrictions on movement and gatherings as part of measures aimed at halting the spreading of Covid 19.
Undeniably, by March 2020 most cultural institutions had been indefinitely closed with exhibitions, concerts and other performances cancelled or postponed thereby leaving diverse artistes in limbo resulting in all kinds of difficulties owing to loss of earnings.
Consequently, the Institut commissioned a number of poets, musicians, choreographers, dancers, writers and visual artists to record short video of themselves indicating how they utilized their creative abilities during the period of partial lockdown.
They include Ibrahim Mahama (internationally acclaimed artist), Dr. Martin Egblewogbe (author / physicist), Dr. Nii Lante Okunka Blankson (musician / physician), Dr. Bernard Akoi-Jackson (visual artist / academic) and Naa Obeye Ammah (filmmaker).
Others are Va-Bene Elikem Kofi Fiatsi (visual artist), Benumah (poet / academic), Sena Atsugah (dancer / choreographer / academic), Dela Botri (contemporary musician) and Gamel Apalayine (author / script writer / theatre director).
Videos submitted include a brief on use of historical spaces and those that emerged after independence, a song that pays glowing tribute to Ghanaian healthcare and other workers battling Covid 19, stimulating poetry, highly reflexive choreography, dramatic musical compositions with traditional Ghanaian instruments and a film collage of cultural events.
Unquestionably, a lockdown is a serious threat for the livelihood of anyone involved in the creative and artistic sector. Indeed, the Goethe-Institut is aware of how deeply the restrictions have impacted on the cultural scene – especially professions which largely rely on audiences being physically present.
Although the Institut has had to temporarily close its doors, it is firmly standing in solidarity with the Ghanaian cultural scene and sincerely hopes to create new and exciting projects with artists as soon as the spread of the virus is contained and restrictions lifted.
Artists seeking to move their works into the digital space, can do so on the kulturama.digital platform, which was recently launched by the Goethe-Institut. It is a live-streaming platform, which makes it easy to share one’s artistic creations live with the world. An additional feature is a crowd-funding link to monetize the event.
While acknowledging the fact that this will not solve all the problems, it can play a role in getting the amazingly rich and vibrant Ghanaian cultural scene through this crisis while assuring stakeholders that the Goethe-Institut is still here and will be here in future.