Mondays at Beinecke: Kwame Akoto-Bamfo
A presentation of survivor’s semiotics with acclaimed artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, founder of the Nkyinkyim Museum in Nuhalenya Ada, Ghana. He notes, “The word ‘Nkyinkyim’ is both an adinkra symbol and a proverb. It directly relates to the travels made by our ancestors and also their journeys from where they migrated from. It also refers to the physical shape of the art installation which is going to be in twists and turns.”
Akoto-Bamfo’s Nkyinkyim Installation stands at the entrance of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, opened in 2018 by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. In 2021, Akoto-Bamfo’s Blank Slate Monument toured throughout the U.S., from Louisville, to the the King Center in Atlanta, among other stops.
Akoto-Bamfo won the 2015 Kuenyehia Art Prize, Ghana’s top prize for contemporary art. He is a graduate of KNUST in Kumasi, Ghana. He last visited and spoke at Beinecke Library on Martin Luther King Day 2020, one of our last major on-site events before the pandemic. We are honored by his return, virtually, to join us in 2022 from Ghana and delighted to be able to reach an even larger audience online this year. More on Akoto-Bamfo and his work:
- Monument Lab, 2021: “Building Restorative Justice Across the African Diaspora”
- EJI, 2019: “Nkyinkyim Sculpture at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice
- BBC, 2019: “You See the Face of Our Ancestors”
- The Root, 2018: “Lynching Memorial: Ghanaian Artist Hopes Sculpture Captures Shared Pain Between African Americans and the Motherland”