Ashanti: Art, Culture, Heritage
August 30th. 2005. - June 30th. 2006.
Exhibition and catalogue by
Ana Garić, MAA curator
About the exhibition
The Ashanti people that inhabit the area of modern Ghana, belong to the wider ethnic group – Akan. With the strengthening of the political and economic power of the highly organized Ashanti Federation (from the 17th century onwards), art under its patronage flourished.
Mainly in the service of the king - Asantehene, as well as the ruling classes in a society that had both formally and symbolically represented the state itself, art was the inevitable medium of communication. Through it the message was delivered to subjects, allies, enemies, but also to the spirits of the deceased, who, as it was believed, even after death took part in the lives of their offspring. Material, motifs, symbols, the order of elements and the context in which a certain object was shown, determined the nature of the message, as well as the ones that received them.
The establishment of meaningful analogies between oral culture and art has produced a certain style the result of the interaction of various branches of creativity, and this style is manifest in certain motifs and their “transfer” from one type of the object to the other. That is why certain ornaments found on stools appeared on textiles as well, and from textiles they were transferred to palace walls, which then inspired the production of jewellery and gold-weights. By learning the social understanding of symbols, materials, colours that are repeated throughout the art corpus of the Ashanti, the observer is a witness to a whole world in which every one of these elements, like a ray that cuts through a prism of meaning, turns into an active social sign.