Graffiti artist (TeteBotan) Kali has just recently done new work in Peki Adzokoe in the Volta Region, as part of his longstanding contribution to efforts at protecting Ghana’s forest covers, and ensuring ecological responsibility and protection, at large. This work was realized in collaboration with the Green Valley Project and the African Centre for Social Development, Ghana. It is a rather timely bit of news, with news coming in, just the other day, of “a 60% increase in Ghana’s rainforest loss.” We reached out to Kali to ask him a few questions regarding this new work.
Please tell us about the Green Valley Project and how this collaboration happened?
The green valley project is an initiative of a concerned citizen named Mawuli Aboagye. I worked with him about two years ago on a project about ecological responsibility, in Cape Coast . The whole project was to basically educate the community through eco responsibility actions and also to contribute to the fight for the protection of our forests. This time around, Mawuli returned from Germany with his wife and this initiative known as Green Valley Project, and asked for for ideas on things to do because of our previous working relationship. And also because he’d been following my work advocating for the preservation of the Atewa forest. This eventually happened as a collaboration project collaboration between Mawuli and the African Centre for Social Development, Ghana.
What were your strategies and visions for this work that you did in Peki Adzokoe ?
The main goal was to educate the community on eco responsibilities, and to encourage them to protect the forests and lands on which them, and all of us, live. So, the work was mainly to educate – besides the graffiti art, I took children through workshops as well, on how to be informed, engaged and responsible members of society, where the environment is concerned.
Also, the work is situated at a very vantage point – on the main Hohoe road, which is untarred, and contributes to erosion of the land when theres a downpour. It is my hope that the work captures the attention of the ministers and other big men when they ply this road – and then also try to do something about this thing.
And how did the community folk interact with – or react to – the work?
I think the community responded very well to the whole work. The art of graffiti seemed entirely new to most of the kind. They engaged me by asking questions – what is the use of this? What is the meaning of that? And since education is not only done verbally – but visually, as well – I think that, at the end of the day, this has been a very educative and useful exercise.