“Alchemy In The Art Studio: The Case of KNUST Art”
Lecturer in the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Dorothy Akpene Amenuke is an artist who lives and works in Kumasi Ghana. She is a lecturer for the Department of Painting and Sculpture in the College of Art and Built Environment at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Aside from her sculpture studio practice, she is into batiking. Amenuke has participated in several international art workshops and residencies. She participated in the 2018 “Archives That Matter” Symposium and workshop in Denmark. She was a resident of the 2009 Art Omi International Artists Residency, New York and directed the International Women Artists Workshop (IWAWO 2009) organized by Art In Aktion in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Accra. She currently coordinates the itinerant OFKOB Artists’ Residency in Ghana. Amenuke was the recipient of the 2012 Howard
Kestenbaum/Vijay Paramsothy International Fellowship in the Haystack Mountain School of crafts, USA, and her work, “How Far How Near”, is in the collection of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (SMA). Amenuke’s art involves the manipulation of a variety of fabrics and fibers through cutting, dyeing, tying, knotting, pasting, weaving and modeling into objects and spatial installations that evoke feelings of containment and protectedness of even subtle repulsion. Devotion becomes a recurring metaphor in her use of materials, laborious processes and communal strategies in the production of her work.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)’s Department of Painting and Sculpture runs the Fine Art programs of the present Faculty of Art, and currently has a student population of 439, with 39 being graduate students. The department has over the past decade and more been revolutionized through an emancipatory leap initiated by Dr. kąrî’kạchä seid’ou, the current dean of the Faculty of Art when he joined the faculty in 2003. With some of his colleagues as collaborators, he embarked on an ‘emancipatory Art teaching’ project which would in one way or the other liberate the art school from the colonial type of art experience (teaching and learning). Premised on values such as universality and multiplicity of art, the curriculum of the Department was to be transformed and expanded into a kind of stance demanding responsibility, criticality, and a deep understanding, thus, appreciation of specific contexts and material conditions of artistic production, and discussion. This has led to a vibrant art involvement of both faculty and students of the department. Students, today, experience an exciting art studio practice and exhibition life that transcend boundaries of space, position, and practice. Used metaphorically, the term “Alchemy” discusses the current innovative methodologies that are used by the lecturers to further ideas on democracy and equal access to art. It is a deliberate choice to evoke Alchemy here.