Spotlight On: Akosua Adoma Owusu

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Still from Kwaku Anansi (2013).

Akosua Adoma Owusu
Akosua Adoma Owusu

A few weeks ago, our team had the honor and pleasure of connecting with transnational filmmaker and producer Akosua Adoma Owusu. The avant-garde artist works in Ghana, the US, and in Europe making films that reflect the genre of “personal cinema.” Over the past several years, Owusu’s work has garnered prolific attention from a range of international academic institutions, museums, journals, and festivals.

Through the Audio-Visual Africa project, we aim to consult with Owusu about collecting and preserving her work. As a woman filmmaker who interrogates questions of diaspora, gender, blackness, and personal expression, we are excited by her unique vision and production. Owusu’s sharp and innovative films speak to the kind of motion picture material the Audio-Visual Africa project seeks to celebrate.

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On the “Archival Sliver” and Audio-Visual Africa, Part 2

Last week, we summarized South African archivist Verne Harris’s notion of the “archival sliver”, the belief that archives are only capable of capturing “a sliver of a sliver of a sliver” of the past (65). Harris developed his argument with reference to the apartheid regime in South Africa, citing instances in which government institutions expunged marginalized social and ethnic groups from the archival record. For a more detailed introduction to Harris’s argument, please refer to On the ‘Archival Sliver’ and Audio-Visual Africa, Part 1.

It is unrealistic to expect that the Audio-Visual Africa project will create archives encapsulating more than a sliver of African history and culture. The project rests on the assumption, however, that the sliver we archive will, in Harris’s words, “giv[e] voice to the voiceless” on a number of different levels (74).
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Spotlight On: Anita Afonu

anita afonu

Earlier this week, we connected with Ghanaian documentary filmmaker Anita Afonu. Though she is young, the artist’s prolific career has already gained worldwide recognition. Some of her acclaimed documentary work includes African Maestro (2015), a portrait of the life and work of ethnomusicologist Prof. Kwabena Nketia; and Perished Diamonds (2012), a film about “the rise and fall of Ghana’s film industry and the controversial sale of the film industry and its repercussions on Ghanaian cinema, culture and identity in recent times” (Afonu, CV). Afonu has screened her work at several international festivals and panels, including FESPACO, African Women in Film Conference, and at the University of Michigan’s Department of Afroamerican and African studies.

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