Bright Ackwerh be one of the young creatives for Ghana here who get some progressive ideas. This young man dey do some brilliant illustrartions.
If during (or after) #Chalewote2015 you see some powerful mural (for the Brazil House area inside James Town) wey dey feature revolutionary-minded people like Kwame Nkrumah, Rapsody then Wanlov the Kubolor, then know say you see one of Bright Ackwerh ein works that: in fact, that mural be just the beginning of some massive project wey Bright then photographer Nii Odzenma dey work on. For this interview inside, Moshood (for yoyo tinz) then Bright talk about this (Million Man Riot) project, art(ists) for Ghana here, Bright ein new, provocative series; #EPisForEpic, then some more things.
For your estimation, what be revolution?
Revolution for wonna estimation be some change, often we dey like the very drastic kind wey dey happen as the people dem dey cause the revolution come see say, some particular system or structure e dey no dey favour them.
You go fit tell us about #EpIsForEpic?
#EpisforEpic chale. E be the name we dey take put wonna album top. Some time ago we talk say we dey go make and release album. We no have name yet so we just dey go plus that tag for now, we fit change or maintain am, we go see. The art we dey make dey try reach out to some demographic wey luckily already dey tap into the music culture especially HipHop, so we say we dey drop the art like a HipHop EP of some sort but it all be experimental chale. #EpisforEpic be wonna album of album covers or cover artworks den movie posters for imaginaries wey be wonna responses to the cultural production scene for the world, though ridee we dey focus on Ghana. So this be salad, everything dey inside some, we dey critique, appraise and provoke thought and production patterns. Episodes wey dey capture wonna often cynical take on stories involving players for the industry inna. Sometimes you dey vibe to some verse for some dope song top then some punch line actually go punch you den knock you out. As you dey limbo, you go see some image wey as you revive norr you for paint or draw am or it fit be some common thing wey we dey see am different than every bro so we for present that often more interesting angle. But all too be double and triple entendres, we dey critique serious things like joke like joke so if wonna skin barb we self we fit get escape routes. Wonna posts and captions usually dey give clues to wonna intent but we no want close the interpretations so we just dey put the work out make people explain am how dem dey want…all that dey help make we extent the converstaions wey it dey bring.
You already tell us say #EpIsForEpic be basically to “question cultural forerunners and the work they make.” What be the vision of the project, though?
Ok. As we talk, we dey critique the real leaders of the cultural discourse. Forget the politicians and the people wey we employ to be government people… the leaders be we. The rappers, singers, musicians, actors, artists, curators, bloggers on these things, yoyo tinz, e be we dey control the people. Wonna work we dey do, be what people dey listen and see and imagine along, indirectly or more directly. We wey we dey, excuse make we talk, control the people so we for be very critical of the material we dey put out. We no dey solve problems but rather we dey test answers, rather than chork to critique attitudes later make we analyse what we dey create to cause right now. We dey hope say wonna ‘not so innocent critique’ go reach more of wonna target audience, the creatives, and have them talk plus more ‘responsible’ dialect.
True to the hashtags that dey come with them, some of the pieces from the #EpIsForEpic series be somewhat confrontational. So far, any artist -that dey probably feel implicated by any of the pieces- confront you?
The #confrontationseries part be some funny jokes chale. Nobody approach we yet. Nobody dey care yet about some ‘idle’ people wey dey paint funny pictures of the things dem dey experience and imagine. We know say dem they watch we though. Them dey see we. If no be directly saf, through the grapevine. But as we launch for your platform wey we start grow wonna base jerh we dey hope for some slaps and things, we dey train everyday for am. That gouaille thing some but this here be more responsible, always some moral dey back we fit learn.
You mention say #EpIsForEpic also be some form of self critique of the cultural production scene in Ghana. That dey bring to mind how non-receptive of critique the scene for here be; where them dey brand even the most constructive of critics as “haters” and things like that. What be your take on that?
That ‘haters’ tag dier we chop some saa. No be for Ghana alone wey no be the creative field alone but we go fit see some of these things the world over. If i dey take yam den goat so say i go do or not do my job you no fit talk cause you too you dey give and take one Ghana for the road side. If i dey litter after sucking waters you no for talk cause you too you dey make noise every dawn with your all night and prayer calls. Nobody fit be judge cause we all no be innocent. Be like that be the mantra. Sorry for the blatant reference, no puns intended. Be like everybody dey want some art or somebody wey go kiss dema ass no be what dey try kick am to right. Yes men sorrr.
For some recent interview inside, some young Ghanaian creative talk say more things dey wey Ghanaian artistes fit do with thema art wey they no dey do currently. You dey share the same sentiments? Plus, what be some of the things we go fit do with the arts wey we no dey do?
Oh chale, that thing dier e be true. But if you see the thing we just talk before this question you go see. Democrazy; You no for have right tell me what i go fit do and not do with my art. C-Real talk something for the #chalewedey song top, he say be like only partisan artisans we get for here doing whatever them dey want with dema will cause dem go fit. Wey e be so e come dey. Every artist get ein own motivations wey some just dey sleep. (this be some confrontation for here) but everybody too dey different stage for dema own journey top so we no go fit have every artist pursuing the same thing, E go be boring or too powerful but still e go be boring. We no just start so, then we too be ‘kitschy’ sometimes, painting pretty pictures of just famous people for social media retweets and reposts and to boost wonna own fame. No cultural significance. Chale, we think say as we all come to the realization say we get this and that amount of power we go learn use am more responsibly. Make you just wedge then spy.
So far, all pieces from the series dey online only. You get any plans to take them off the virtual online space then present them for physical spaces too?
Yeah chale. First of all, virtual cause e be easier to reach more people and break fewer laws. Yawa laws. But just like the movie posters you dey see around as Kumawwod then Ghallywood release some product we dey on the physical streets too. We be like chameleons for that space inside. E be very potent exhibition structure give wonna work chale. More so as wonna things san be like movie posters for things wey dey go on. We dey simulate the already existing exhibition structure for that circle inna then siphon dema visual and cultural power some.
With the absence of graffitti laws for Ghana here, you go talk say Ghanaians dey miss out on opportunity to start then engage in relevant conversations plus the art of grafitti- for all forms inside?
Graffiti or ‘uncommissioned’ murals in public spaces, wey get vital political content be under explored for here waa. E be true. But people dey do am small small. Abi you know MOH? He dey rep that space hard waa, kudos to that broda chale. Make we use this avenue plug say, we get some joint projects coming soon so we hope say the next time you go turn the busy streets of Accra here or wherever, you go see some of that thing. Abi you know say that thing just be crime cause the corporations that they own and make money from billboard ad spaces no dey want any visual competition as dem dey plan fuck up plus people dema mind make dem come buy dema things. We dey see some problematic billboard content for around so we dey first question them things… be like i dey talk too much about that. Make we make you chork small, anticipate am, then grant we another platform for conversation as we launch.
Your collaborative project plus photographer Nii Odzenma (Million Man Riot) be some ongoing thing, wey ebi open for participation by all. I be curious as to how you dey make people who no dey social media (or people to whom this information be currently inaccessible) aware of this. Because riots/revolts/revolution arguably for be as classless and all-inclusive as possible to be successful. We also fit talk about how the strength of revolutions be contingent on the numbers involved. Basically, you consider (or you go consider) how some artistic event like this go fit include the voice and participation of the ‘masses’ too who often be sidelined/silenced in the name of being spoken for?
That project be some different experiment wey we launch. We no go love talk about am much for here as we still dey construct and define am but the response so far has been unbelievably overwhelming chale. We take connect plus more people around the world with something that was birthed out of a small converstaion for wonna studio.something out of nothing. We find some way marry am plus the #chalewote2015 theme wey we present am for there the first time. As for the issue of inclusion we feel say every army for have good commanders so say the cavalry no go suffer plenty. With the commanders fully drafted we go enlist the troops and get that thing moving. We go trascend all imaginary borders wey every rioter go have dema fair position and share of the loot after the riot, man, woman and child. Coloured or otherwise but it for be the right time.
The Million Man Riot mural for James Town dey feature “Blitz The Ambassador-” who be one Ghanaian Hiphop artiste. What be the role of (wanna) hiphop (artistes) for the revolution inside?
Oh chale Blitz the Ambassador. That be one of wonna generals chale.one of the many people wey dey inspire we. For that project, it be some of ein music we march to. On the general hip hop for we, be the voice of the people, the people wey dey ‘here’ against the ruling corporations wey dey ‘there’. Excuse the ‘here’ and ‘there’ but you go see say the moment the people from ‘there’ find a clever way to enter your ronnings, you go start dey get creative and ideological censorship among other things. More people fall for that trap, Him, he no fall yet, hopefully never cause the numbers of ‘true’ artists in that space from Ghana for increase. I fit name den count hiphop acts wey dey dat category on one hand, only one hand, but that go be only me my opinion wey it san be the view from only my PoV. But simply put the numbers for increase make the movement gather more vim. Dem dey have the audience dada but not making the most of the control power dem dey have attache. Other times too some just dey consciously or unconsciously undo the work others dey die for doing.
About two years ago, M3nsa send out series of tweets wey dey detail how art in general, then music specifially, be more potent than politics then other fields for shaping some inidivual ein (or people dema) concsiousness , plus how e dey hia say artistes go realise this. It dey sound like something you go love talk about. So go ahead.
Oh i know say you go ask me this anka i no talk about am much earlier. I no shock as that statement dey come from that FOKN boy. Be like dem (the duo and some affiliates) be some of the few people in and from this space wey be aware of, wey dey use that knowledge shape the content dem dey create. We all dey here wey wonna sisto Yvonne start dey tweet and talk about wonna dumsor phenomenon. In a few weeks leading to that fateful day wey dem bravely lead a peaceful procession to make the employees in charge more aware say we the people no be happy plus the service dem dey give (not give) we, see the support she den ein friends gather. That be one example, Gasmilla say make the people all wey even dey live closer to the shore come together make them clean and change dema attitudes to beach sanitation, see the encouraging results. I dey mention these people because despite all counter news, dem dey do something with the power dem be conscious say dem dey possess. We get more people wey get similar power or even more. Them no cough yet. We dey watch them. The government initiate some cleaning thing, e be very necessary waa say we go clean up after wonna selves… people dey participate someway somehow. Go Nima, VVIP take am go some level, go see how dem dey rally support to change attitude. I go fit go on and on. The reason why dem ban Fela Kuti say make he no step Ghana after that ein visit. The Politicians saf be aware wey dem dey give wonna people some money make dem use dema songs and work take do campaign and propaganda… the examples chao roff. But like we talk, as more people become aware dem go make more responsible.
Speaking of M3nsa, some question dey wey he he dey sing for the RedRed song -How Far- inside, wey i go love pose that same question to you: “Where dey the saviour we dey look for, e be some guy for the sky inside or e be me then you noorr?”
Oh the saviour? e be me then you norrr. But some people dey believe say some guy for the sky inside be dema saviour. He dey there dey do ein thing no wonder he no come down come save them from the trouble dem norrr dey create. The sky inside dey jom pass, dumsor no dey there, as it go dark saf you fit be assured say on time norrr it go come back to Bright. *wink. So we all dey believe and do wonna thing chale. just know say the way you go make your bed go be the same way you go bed inna.
“When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘We’, even ‘Illness’ becomes ‘Wellness’.” That apparently be quote from Malcolm X; A very vibely one, if you ask me. You go fit share your thoughts on that Ubuntu philosophy?
We all we be one chale. I no get anything add, Different flavours but we come together ah we fit be some beautiful rainbow. You do for we we do for you, even when you dont do, we fit spank you small den forgive you for the rest (confrontation things) but yeah, we be like the proverbial broom. If you want commot for inside as we all plan to sweep make you know say you go break as you dey move all by yourself. Wey you break ah the rest of we all go sweep you den the borla all together go the gutter inside…ei, sorry, the dust bins.
Chale, tell us about some of the things you go be involved in.
We contribute some art to that Corruption Dumsor mixtape curated by Wanlov wey drop some weeks back. So we be very honoured say we fit contribute wonna quota to the joint efforts of dem concerned Ghanaian voices. Aside that we dey contribute art too to other projects wey dey put out some relevant den responsible material, Delasi ein #thoughtjourney be one of such projects chale. More projects dey, but at the right time we go share all.
As part of extending the already very potent space wonna work fit be encountered in too, we dey try organize some small talks and demonstration sessions too for some of the brodas and sistos wey want join wonna ‘movement’ make dem know what we be about. Hopefully before the year go end saf. We go love exhibit some of the pieces too, seen and unseen then sell some limited edition signed prints saf, abi you know, brodas for survive too.
Hip hop is not…………………………
Hiphop is not afraid to search for and speak the truth.
Get to know more about bright on his social media platforms :
Twitter : @brightackwerh
Instagram : @brightackwerh