Ghanaian society, just like many African societies, is a patriarchal setting where women remain no more than tools of pleasure for most men. In such a space, history of sexual violence is a recurrence for many females whose bodies have been suppressed under patriarchal ideology. The aftermath of rape and other sexual harassments constitute a hard to heal trauma for most women; however, as art is therapeutic, two Ghanaian women who have been victims of rape have unveiled their memories through their arts and represent the horror in most African societies where sexual harassment has been a recurrent phase of every female’s history.
Using the shadow metaphor, Dr. Sionne and Josephine Ngminvielu Kuuire recount their historical past which they left behind. The artists are survivors of sexual violence, decided to draw out these demons and shadows by leaving notes for them through art. Mixtape Notes To The Shadows, their collaborative mixed media exhibition and performance, was an open surgery on sexual trauma inviting witnesses as they chart their respective journeys to healing.
The show which opened on December 2 at Brazil House in James Town Accra, was a translation of the duo’s respective experiences with sexual violence, into photography, video art, performance and storytelling. Dr. Neely, a womanist researcher and co-creator of the CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, teamed up with Kuuire, a concept-driven photographer and digital artist, to sculpt a narrative bookmarked by video clips.
Their arts catalogue the period of personal growth from childhood to adulthood. You can follow Ngminvielu’s work through her personal Instagram handle. You can also watch Dr Sionne on TEDx Dzorwulu where she spoke about her art.