Saturday, 19 March 2011

FOWOKAN: His Spiritual and Political Journey

Alexandra Galleries has come together with Yahw Arts and Kofiarts to launch Better than Good (BTG), an arts education initiative aimed at highlighting the achievements of Black Artist's in Britain.

The coalition was formed out of a passion for the arts and a desire to strengthen the link between the artist, their community and the art appreciative public. A diverse programme of events is planned to stimulate discussion and creative thought which the group hopes will lead to a deeper cultural, moral, aesthetic and personal awareness of Black art in Britain. BTG has teamed up with London South Bank University to launch this ambitious project.

BTG is the brainchild of artist's Ken McCalla and Alvin Kofi, and Clem Richards of Alexandra Galleries. The three worked together in 2009 presenting "A thin line between love and the Black Arts", a panel discussion at the Original gallery on the issues facing young and emerging black artists pursuing a career in the creative arts. Among the panel at that lively debate were, artist Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy MBE, photographer Charlie Phillips, journalist and broadcaster Dr Mike Phillips.
To launch this ambitious programme, BTG will be presenting A Spiritual and Political Journey of an Artist, an evening in conversation with an icon of the Black British art movement, Fowokan George Kelly (see photo above).

It was during a visit to Benin Nigeria in the mid-1970's that Sculptor Fowokan George Kelly experienced a somewhat spiritual enlightenment that led him on a path to becoming one of the UK's leading sculptors with work deeply rooted in the traditions of pre-colonial Africa and ancient Egypt.
Nearing 70, and showing no sign of curbing his ambition or his dedication to encouraging the next generation of Black artists, Fowokan, a true "Elder" of the UK black art scene, shares insights, influences, stories and writings of his incredible creative journey.

Taking the Yoruba name Fowokan, meaning 'one who creates with the hand', he began practising as a sculptor in 1980. Over a period of some 30 years he has received many prestigious commissions, including the South bank Spring Festival, Marcus Garvey Centenary celebrations and the African People's Historical Monument Foundation.

He has exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem USA, the British Museum and the Royal Academy London. His sculptures are in collections such as the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, the University of the West Indies, Unilever and Marcus Garvey Park, as well as in private collections in various parts of the world. He was elected as an honouree to the prestigious Royal Society of Portrait Sculptors.

Fowokan will be interviewed by artist Larry Achimpong, with a media presentation of Fowokan's work narrated by actor, writer and director Shango Baku.

There is also an opportunity for students and artists to participate in Cultural & Spiritual Expression - A master class in African cultural Expression, an arts workshop which explores the ideology behind African symbolism. Participants will be challenged to create and express themselves through 3D construction and the process of design. Fowokan gives a rare insight into the mystical world presented in African art with artist's Alvin Kofi and Ken McCalla also facilitating the workshop.

To register your interest in these events email

Cultural & Spiritual Expression - A master class in African cultural expression
Sat 14 May 2011, 12pm - 4pm

London South Bank University
Abbey Conference Suite
100 - 116 London Road
London SE1 6NG

A Spiritual & Political Journey of an Artist
Tues 17 May 2011, 6.30pm - 9pm

London South Bank University
Event's Theatre
Keyworth Centre
Keyworth Street
London SE1 6NG

No comments: