HOMAGE TO GHANA: II

2019
Bespoke Bag, Fashion

DELA ANYAH / DELASI KEKELI STUDIO
In Dela Anyah’s second Homage to Ghana, he makes references to the Trotro—public bus, a common means of transportation in Ghana. Tro-Tro is a mini-bus transport system in Ghana that runs journeys from one short location to another, and runs between particular destinations with commuters alighting at some assigned bus stops, while others join and alight.

Tro-Tro is a Ga language word "tro," which means three pence (pence being the penny coins used during Ghana's colonial days). In the colonial days, the mass transit vehicle charged passengers three pence per trip, and thus were referred to as "tro-tros".

According to research the history of Trotro dates back to the pre-independence era where trotros were known as mammy trucks.

As the name “mammy truck” implies, these vehicles were closely associated with market traders – predominantly women – who utilized the speed, convenience, and autonomy of the truck to expand their control over local and regional trade. Vehicle owners soon saw the economic potential of automobility – hiring out their vehicles to carry a wide range of goods and/or passengers within and between rural and urban areas, within and beyond the boundaries of the British colony of the Gold Coast. By the 1930s, Africans from all parts of Gold Coast society utilized the mammy truck to move.

This collection is Dela’s second foray in wearable sculpture, and as a way of creating a work of sculpture that isn't confined to one place at a time. Dela involves his audience in this piece where the  wearer becomes a part of a larger performance piece with the wearer becoming a walking gallery and model, that like the trotro isn't confined to one space or place.

Each body of work in this collection highlights key Ghanaian phrases and images from the artist's life, that mimics the placement of stickers upon trotros: a practice that is done to help with identification. Tying in to the homage to Ghana philosophy each wearer of these works of sculpture can be identified as being connected to Ghana by their carrying of this piece.

These works of sculpture are a symbol of perseverance; battered and rustic looking like the trotro, it symbolizes pushing on to our destination (purpose) even when we are bruised by life.



Ⓒ 2022, DELA ANYAH