The University of Sunderland’s annual Creative Lives series of talks has restarted for 2021. The first speaker was Anthony Amoako Attah, a Ph.D student working in the same discipline as me. I can safely say that he’s much better at it than I am! We use the same facilities, so I’ve watched from the sidelines as he built up some of his fabulous glass fabrics.
Anthony’s intricate and carefully draped glass fabrics are the result of many hours of trials, screenprints and firings. Apart from the technical precision, what appeals to me most in his work is the symbolism and cultural significance Anthony has baked into the artwork. The pieces have their origins in Ghanaian traditions. He uses Kente fabric designs, originally worn by royalty, and traditional Adinkra symbols that represent individual concepts. The glass is carefully worked to look like the ritual fabrics that people wear at different stages of their lives.
Much of Anthony’s work relates to his efforts to integrate himself into the life and culture in the Northeast of England. He jokes that, apparently, it’s not quite as warm here as back home in Ghana. I admire his bravery in leaving everything familiar behind except his art training, to immerse himself in such a radically different environment. I also admire his work ethic and resilience – beautiful craftsmanship like this doesn’t happen without many hours of practice and rising up from failures to try again. It’s a strong lesson for me, in this lockdown.
See Anthony’s artwork at @kente_glass on Instagram.
Learn more about Anthony in this Northlands Creative Artist Spotlight from August 2020.