The Dei Center for the study of Contemporary Art recently organized an art exhibition that explored the "importance, essence and spirituality of the village" and its place in the contemporary global village. The exhibition, titled "Kofi Pare" "A photographic essay, is a tribute from Seth Dei, an entrepreneur and art collector, to his hometown, Kofi Pare, a small cocoa-farming community in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Accra-based Dei Center for the study for the study of Contemporary Art is a partnership between the Seth and Carleene Dei Foundation and New York University's Africa.
The exhibition itself began at 6.30 pm to a backdrop of live African music as drink-clutching guests filed past black and white stills that told story of the beginnings of Kofi Pare. The village traces its beginning to the early years of the twentieth century when the current site of the village was purchased from a nearby chief by a migrant cocoa farmer.
Over a century after its founding, Kofi Pare still faces some challenges, not uncommon to other rustic settlements in Ghana. Despite the diversification of economic activities beyond cocoa farming, agriculture still plays an important part in the lives of the people. However, agriculture in Kofi Pare faces some obstacles, including bad roads (which inhibit the speedy transport of farm produce to market centers) and lack of credit (which prevents some farmers from scaling upwards from subsistence farming). Thus, the exhibition also hopes to bring awareness to the issues facing contemporary rural communities like Kofi Pare, problems which are not limited to agriculture but include traditional and contemporary politics, education, religion, and other social structures.
*The Dei Cneter is located at No. 7A Ninth Street, Tesano, near Papaye, in Accra. Visiting hours are 9am to 5pm from Mondays to Fridays.
Below are some of the pictures that this Africanmag correspendent captured from the exhibition.
Some older members of the original settlers
A group photo of a (second) generation Kofi Pare family