Treated copper coins on wood
CM H 132.1 W 132 Thickness 2
IN H 52 W 52 Thickness 0.79Certificate of authenticity - Signed by artist
Yaw Owusu demonstrates the transformative tendencies of copper coins by reimagining them as both material and pallet. His recent work activates urgent questions around economic and political independence in Ghana.
These ‘pesewa’ coins, introduced in 2007 to cure inflation are now rarely used even in the lowest value trade as they are of almost no value in today’s financial climate. Typical of Owusu’s approach to working with local agencies to develop his work, the artist acquired the coins by negotiating with national banks — a bureaucratic process as important to the practice as the work itself.
Drawn from the common saying ‘All that glitters is not gold’, Owusu’s new body of work is a meditation on the question of how value is made and unmade.
As his work translates the coins from currency into the economy of the gallery system, they take on a new meaning altogether, and their new found status as tradable objects reveals the dynamics of money both metaphorically and literally.Turning a seemingly “worthless” currency denomination into an object of intrinsic value, the work reflects upon the illusions of wealth, abundance and riches in contemporary Ghanaian society.
As the saying suggests, these things can promise to be more than they really are, however by leaving the sentence unfinished, ‘All That Glitters’ is urging the viewer to reach their own conclusion.
Yaw Owusu (b.1992) creates sculptural installations that repurpose found objects, shifting the value of otherwise-worthless materials into things of beauty. Built from countless pieces of loose change known as “pesewa” coins, his work activates urgent questions around economic and political independence in contemporary Ghana. First introduced as an attempt to cure the countries economy’s inflation in 2007, these small copper coins have almost no value in today’s financial climate, enabling the artist to use them as a primary material. Typical of Owusu’s approach to working with local agencies to develop his work, the artist acquired the coins by negotiating with Ghana’s banks – a bureaucratic process that is as important to the artist’s practice as the final works.
Created as structural works that embrace the same organic qualities of their materials his sculptures have incorporated as much as twenty-four thousand coins, transforming under various conditions and processes. The bronzed coins undergo various natural and chemical treatments, using salt from the south coasts and vinegar from the mid and eastern regions to reveal their age and quality. They can appear fixed onto wooden panels, draped over walls or loosely hanging onto surfaces to form a camouflage, however they are anything but decorative displays of natural beauty. Instead, these installations are an expression of the artists reflections on the complex processes that demarcate Ghana’s social and political systems. Like the economy itself, the sculptures seem robust due to their dense façade, yet they...Read more
Gallery 1957 presents leading artists working across West Africa and the diaspora.
Launched by Marwan Zakhem on Ghana Independence Day, 2016, Gallery 1957 has since expanded across two gallery spaces within Accra, dedicating its programme to spearheading international exchanges between contemporary West African art practices and the rest of the world.
Presenting a programme of exhibitions, installations and performances by the region’s most significant artists, Gallery 1957 bridges the gap between local and international audiences. Beyond its roster of diverse artists and exhibitions, global gallery partnerships and the establishment of the artist residency programme have welcomed many international artists and arts professionals to Ghana, encouraging them to engage further with the country’s rich contemporary art scene.
Gallery 1957’s work expands beyond the gallery walls through a public programme that includes fairs, talks, off-site projects and site-specific installations commissions - continuously supporting cultural initiatives in Ghana, and beyond.
Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City & Galleria Mall
PMB 66 — Ministries
Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue
Ridge — Accra
11am—7pm during exhibitions