2nd Kumasi Biennial Symposium: Community Arts In Focus

16 July 2011, Ghana

The problem the symposium addresses is the widening gap between contemporary African artist and the community in changing times. There is an obvious social disconnection; yet, the fine arts and craft are viewed the same by the general public, including deep in the village. How can we meaningfully engage the rural sub-Saharan population in the contemporary artistic process? How can we broaden the scope of the Curio Kiosks project of the first Kumasi Symposium that was a successful attempt to bring international contemporary art to the general public who might not normally come to art galleries and museums?

In light of these questions and social concerns, the 3-week event will focus on community arts practice, as a response to the growing problem. We define community arts, also known as "participatory arts" or "community-based arts," as the world of artistic processes and forms made by, with, or for a community setting that may emphasize community involvement and collaboration. Most often, it involves engagement with the issues and practices for communal bonds and empowerment for grassroots social change. We will use Kumasi City-Abetenim rural sites such as market places, local schools, village centers, and others as laboratories for workshops, artistic interventions, site-specific installations, lectures and other community-based approaches from around the world.

Thus, we invite individual or group submissions for community theatre, media arts, readings, film screening, slide shows, open studios, visual activism, musical performances, community design, social architecture and others to allow the rural community to become acquainted with international contemporary artistic practice. We aim that the participants will be inspired by one another's work.

Registration for the 3-week event will be $520 / €395 / £328, or equivalent in local currency. Participants are responsible for the costs of travel and materials; and we will provide you with a letter of candidature for your sponsor. Hotel accommodation or homestay for cultural immersion can be arranged within your budget. Dinner will be by cooperative kitchen in which we all work together in sharing the planning, cost, shopping and cooking. It has been more of a dinner party, a time to come together to sample national cuisines, have fun at the table and bond as a community. The symposium opens with a 2-day seminar. It will close with a Community ArtsFest, which will involve two days of exhibitions and screenings of project results along with food and performances by indigenous music and dance troupes from surrounding villages. Prizes to the winners of the “GHANA: 2011 OPEN ARchiTecture CHALLENGE” (International art+architecture Design Competition) will be awarded at the closing banquette.