Re-Painting the Red
Intervention in Public Space
Exhibition Installation, KNUST Museum, Kumasi University, Ghana
August 2009
Rex Akinruntan
Kojo Apori
Ralitsa Diana Debrah
Charlie Michaels
The project seeks to draw attention to a form of corporate advertising by international companies in Ghana. The practice of branding signifies ownership of the branded objects, in this case by corporations that choose to use the walls of family living spaces as cheap advertising. The streetscape of Ghanain cities and villages is quickly changing as the number of branded homes, houses, even places of sacred shrines and sites of cultural heritage grows. Public space that once belonged to local communities and families is now being claimed and privatized by the bright, ubiquitous and distracting logos.
These methods of advertising take advantage of the fragile economic and social status of the people in Ghanain communities, as families is commonly given little or nothing in return. Money, mobile phones and t-shirts are offered in exchange - often as unfulfilled promises.
After conducting interviews and obtaining permission from the resident of a branded home in the city of Kumasi, the artists painted over the advertisements covering the walls. The wall was then stenciled with a series of Adinkra signs, proverbial symbols of the old Ghanain culture. The arrangement of the Adinkra symbols mimics the design of the corporate logo but subverts it, symbolizing the re-claiming of the home by the local culture and the transferring of the space back into the hands of the community and family.
Photo documentation: Jack Azor


Portraits and landscapes
Photos: Jokinen