New Ashgate Gallery champions the best of contemporary art and craft providing an unparalleled resource in Farnham, Surrey and beyond
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Some recurrent subjects within Annie-Marie Akussah's work are identity, belonging and the authenticity of identification documents in the context of inter-African migration. Her paintings hold colours that resemble buildings and places expatriates may have occupied, such as Indian red; existing on the doors of council flats and ochre; present immigration offices (desks). The multiplicity of materials, techniques and medium used within her work develops the context and enables her use different avenues to explore painting without any boundaries. By integrating portraiture with transfers, prints and assemblage, my paintings take on different characters, which mirror the life of an expatriate, the expatriate adapts, loses and learns different culture within the 'new' space that is being occupied.
When migrants occupy a foreign land, everything about them is questioned. Society's paradigm of expatriates is often from the middle east and Africa yet the prevailing perspectives, ideologies and impressions of migratory movement within the world pay little attention to inter-African migratory movement. Too often, the ones making treacherous journeys to and within Africa are not documented within contemporary art practices.
Within her paintings, I have a dialogue about inter-African migration today, in the early 1950's (before Ghana's independence from the British) and post independence, whilst exploring the spaces migrants are held in (immigration offices, detention centres, slave auction houses etc.) The passport or any travel document, is a tool of identification but also a constraint because the exclusivity of certain passports, citizenships and visa's trigger alienation. The drastic innovation of passports to intensify security, surveillance and defence, commands the notion of identity and authenticity. I have this dialogue within my paintings by using stamps and pages within travel documents, modifying some of the information to play around the notion of authenticity.