Inici » Free yourself from mental bondage

Free yourself from mental bondage

by premium.cat
una mujer con rastas en la cabeza mirando hacia un lado con una mirada seria en su rostro, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy, retrato fotorrealista, retrato de un personaje, fotorrealismo

The slave route: a memory of human infamy

If Ghana were subjected to tourism, there would surely already be a “vacation package” offered by the international tourism industry that would be called something like “the slave route”. But this route, which evokes one of the most shameful chapters in the history of mankind, really exists, and, luckily, it has a character that is basically respectful of memory, preserving physical evidence against denialist theories, and disseminating of history (albeit somewhat biased as it does not mention African collaborators with the powerful European slave and slave traders). In any case, I have been able to verify that it is not contaminated by the pandemic of the deculturation of the selfie culture.

From the north, specifically from the city of Tamale, and after passing through the center of Ghana (via Kumasi), I started the memory route of the abject Ghanaian people trade through Assin Manso (Slave River). In this river the slavers washed the captives for the last time before they were sold to European settlers, and engraved the prisoners’ skin with red-hot irons to indicate who they belonged to. Leaving the river – and heading towards the forts on the coast, where the slaves were “stored” while they waited for the ship that, as merchandise, had to take them to their destination – you find the following inscription: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery”, that is to say “Free yourself from mental slavery”.

Art as a tool of hope and criticism of capitalism

These words suddenly transported me mentally to the stay, a few days before, at the Red Clay Studio, that is, the studio where Ibrahim Mahama works, whose artistic work, by the way, I met in Es Baluard Museu where until recently the work ‘Amd. Product Of Ghana’. It must be said that the Red Clay is much more than a study of the Ghanaian artist. It is a kind of community institution where citizens, especially from Tamale, but also from other places, participate in all kinds of activities, mainly educational and artistic, and at the same time it is a museum with a permanent collection in which, as always and everywhere, Ibrahim Mahama -using the transformation of materials collected from urban environments, such as pieces of wood, jute sacks that are sewn and placed on architectural structures, or railway and aviation machinery that the artist reinterprets- artistically explores themes such as migration, globalization and economic exchange, crises and injustices of capitalism, or the great current challenges of humanity. For example, Red Clay exhibits an installation made of hundreds of World War II stretchers that Ibrahim Mahama acquired in Greece. The work suggested to me a distressing cry against wars, and a desperate claim to liberation from the mental servitude of the bellicosity of these times. A message unfortunately very current!

The Red Clay experience confirms that it is possible to practice an artistic language to create hope, and to do so in the logic of an anti-capitalist vital practice. In this sense, it must be insisted that the slave trade from the 16th to the 19th century was not a random event in modern economic history. On the contrary, it was a fundamental piece in the first moments of the formation of world capitalism. And, on the other hand, as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o taught us a few years ago “the final triumph of a system of domination is achieved when the dominated begins to sing its virtues”. Ultimately, only mental servitude prevents us from imagining an alternative to capitalism.

-
00:00
00:00
Update Required Flash plugin
-
00:00
00:00