He builds a real road out of yellow bricks without bricks Lifestyle
In Ghana, a real yellow brick road is formed, and it has at least one thing in common with the fictional path by which it is named.
Like Dorothy in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, who must walk the magical Yellow Road to find her way back to Kansas, Serge Atuquay Cloti, the artist behind Ghana’s Yellow Brick Road, is motivated by homesickness.
“As an artist, I’m interested in migration,” Klotti said on the original CNN series Nomad. “Not as in humans, but migration as in objects.”
The objects used to create Klotti’s works are of particular importance in Ghanaian culture. The “yellow brick road” consists of deconstructed “gallons” or yellow plastic canisters that were originally containers for imported oil. They have been extensively re-equipped to transport water amid persistent water shortages in the country, and got their name at a particularly bad time for access to water: during the tenure of President John Kufuor, who was in power from 2001 to 2009. It was then that they became known as “Kufuor gallons” or simply “gallons”.
According to UNICEF, they are still commonplace in Ghana, where every 10 people have to travel up to 30 minutes to collect water. A powerful emblem of the struggle of everyday life, they also became a symbol of African art, as Cloti put them at the center of his movement “Afro-Glanism”.
Cloty grew up using containers to bring water to her home before moving in with her uncle, who had a faucet. But the gallons, which actually have a capacity of 20 to 25 liters, or about 6 US gallons, then acquired a different meaning for the artist, who was born in Accra.
“I found them as available materials that I can work with for a long time. So I put them together like a wall and then painted on them, ”Klotti said recently on CNN African Voices.
Soon the containers began to pile up. “I didn’t have a place to store them, so it became a problem,” he said. Then he had the idea to cut them, which at first was not well received by the local community. “When I started cutting them, the whole community was against it because they thought they needed to survive and I get rid of them, I destroy them. So it was a whole conflict, I had to involve them in my studio and tell them that storing water in them is unhygienic ”.
He demonstrated the concept by showing the effects of leaving canisters in the sun and filled with water for a few days. Not only can plastic particles seep into water, but high temperatures create an environment for bacteria to multiply, making water potentially dangerous.
“So they started getting rid of them in their system. It’s a gradual process, when they get rid of the old ones, they bring them to my studio, they donate, I have to buy from them. You know, we kind of trade with them and all that.” he said.
Cloti then began cutting canisters and incorporating details into his art, creating his own branded yellow tapestries and using top jars as masks in photographs, while the round hole symbolizes the human mouth.
In 2016, cutting hundreds of them, he launched the Yellow Brick Road – his largest public installation – in the Swan Beach area of Accra, where he grew up.
The pieces are sewn together and then, with the help of locals, laid on the carpets on Lobadi Street. The work should symbolize the resourcefulness and resilience of the community, but its bright boundaries also underscore the fact that many locals, including the Cloti family, are unable to prove ownership of their home or land due to lack of documents.
“My family moved from Jamestown to Lobadi and they drove along the coast. They traded in alcohol and beef, and based on the trade relationship that was in my family with working people, they got a place to settle, and that was oral. There was no documentation, “he told African Voices.
200 years later, the question of property rights still arises, and the “Yellow Brick Road” serves as a powerful visual reminder.
“I use the work to demarcate the property through the installation. Ever since I started the project, I have people who come to tell my family story and it creates an interesting dialogue. Hopefully it can be used for protect the family’s property in court, ”Cloti said. “I am very interested in how people in the vicinity of Ghana are experiencing this property conflict because part of the property was inherited through oral agreements, without documents and documentation. I think this is a very important part of my project. “