Exhibition, Jute Sacks



Dela Anyah's enduring fascination with the subjects of abuse and activism began with the Abuse Series, and led to a body of work titled New Slaves. Departing from his exuberant use of color and multi-layered collage sacks, here we see Dela Anyah working in grayscale tones with a hint of red.

In these works, we see not only the simplicity of a universe populated exclusively by four colors.

The black jute sacks act as a frame, the white paper as a stage to narrate each story, the greys playing a supporting role and the dominant red as one that brings more order to the quartet.

The colour Red has over many centuries meant different things to many cultures, and in this pieces on modern slavery, it symbolizes the bloodshed by enslaved ancestors due to the transatlantic slave trade and new liberties and freedoms by revoluntinaries. Slaves of eras before attributed red to the blood of their forefathers and the struggles they endured as represented in the Ghanaian flag of Dela’s Origin. Red is also a constant reminder of the pain slaves endured.

Dela Anyah engaged new and disparate influences from Pop Art to post-independence art movements painting to evolve the subject of his own work. In these works, we see Dela Anyah employing the use of comics to communicate his ideas in a few panels. A practice that was birthed through Dela’s foray into the world of film and storyboarding years prior to this project. By capturing key scenes in the lives of millions of indivuals trapped in the world of modern day slavery, Dela is able to bring viewers into their world through powerful storytelling and the power of the image.