According to the philosopher John Mbiti, African time has "a long past, a present and virtually no future." It is a river in which we each stand facing downstream. The water immediately around us is the present, joining history as it flows past. The future floats somewhere behind us. There is no need to turn around and wade into it: it will inevitably flow in our direction. We can only focus on what has already happened and what is taking place today.
Popularly known as Artsoul Kojo, Nana Danso Awuah-Asante is a self-taught Ghanaian contemporary artist who continues ancient visual storytelling traditions of using African symbols as vessels to not only carry and transmit history but to process the stranger aspects of our everyday lives and create infinite new ways of looking at the world.
The History of Ghana is born from the sadness and anger one experiences when one is cheated of history for which blood was shed; the gaps that riddle the history that he and his peers were taught, It mourns a past tethered around colonial knowledge of far less relevance to African identity than the ancient knowledge systems it replaced and attempts to rediscover the latter from a place deep within.
Honouring African storytellers with ‘theeyewitness’ - the character that pervades much of his art – Artsoul Kojo bears witness and quietly questions society in surreal landscapes inspired by history in ways that may look alien but feel familiar. Through visions of what it may yet mean to be Ghanaian when the Ghana we want is yet to drift through time towards us, he invites us to ask ourselves who we have been, who we are, and who we may yet be.