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Photography & Spoken Word

Magic in the Air

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Two coconut trees with long trunks are looking down at an old building. Their fronds are close and nearly touching. Between them are three birds with wings apart, frozen in flight. They look more like they’re circling than moving toward a destination. There’s a fourth bird, lower and to your right. It is caught in the angle created by that coconut tree and the right side of the frame of the picture.

Further below is the top end of an old fortress. It is the Elmina Castle, because a canon is peering out from above the building. The wall of this fortress, which is painted white, has not been painted in a while. Still, it offers the impression of something strong. It is the Elmina Castle. As Ghanaian, you probably guessed it immediately you saw it.

The picture is the scene of solitude, and was taken by Kwasi Kyei Mensah Jnr., a budding photographer who is himself drawn to the idea of peace and mature solitude, i.e, the one which is not characterised by sadness of any kind. He’s also drawn to black and white, which is a tool for class and timelessness in a photo…if you ask me. With black and white photography too, Kyei easily achieves the complexion of air and the fluorescence of quiet.

It was this quality in his work, specifically, which attracted me to him in August of last year. He had posted a photo on his Facebook wall…also rendered in black and white, also capturing beautifully, the atmosphere of solitude. It was a picture of a man riding a bicycle and wearing a hat. Fastened to the carrier of the bike is a gas cylinder and two polythene bags. Trees and street lights are blurred in the distance, and he’s virtually the only thing we see, save for the short pole behind him. This picture is so silent and arresting, it initiates conversation in our minds; Who is the man on the bike? What is in the plastic bags? What is his occupation? Is he on an errand for himself or a master? Is he depressed on that day?

Let’s return to the picture of the Elmina Castle though, shall we? The sky behind is stainless and all but deserted and resembles a canvas. It seems to me that the sky in the frame was the only spot for activity on that day. It is a brilliant picture, taken hours into the afternoon in natural light. The sky is usually a peaceful place.

Who looks into the sky? Which photographer aims their camera into the sky? We all look into the sky; it’s the farthest thing we can see with our physical eyes and the closest thing to God, literally. We look into the skies often, and since we can’t see God, the sky is also god to us, and sends our prayers to the deity beyond it.

Who looks into the sky? It is the person who has lost hope or the one who is looking for some peace and beauty. The sky is gentle; there’s hardly hasty activity in it. Occasionally there’s a flying object; a bird, a plane, a shooting star, a cloud…but somehow, the sky slows them all down.

What is the focus in this photograph? It is the coconut trees; who look like friends from childhood who have made it to old age. They are identical because they are all they’ve had for a long time so they just mirror each other. They seem to gossip about activity on the sea ahead and the expressions on the faces of tourists. It is the coconut trees because their trunks look like they have been through challenge and have known evening loneliness.

What is the focus in this photograph? It is the birds up there in the sky but with no destination in mind in the meantime, just spreading their wings to the refreshment of altitude. They are like little children playing in the sand or chasing each other with giggles and for recreation. As we have experienced, it is the best time to live…it is the best way to live; constantly laughing, easily forgiving and dwelling without care or thought about the morrow.

What is the focus of this picture? It is the canon who’s tail we can only see. It’s not all there is to it, but it’s all you need to see to be frightened…if you know what danger a canon can be.

It is the wall which hasn’t been painted in a while; it has seen so much and been part of so much death shameful history and nobody has demanded an opinion from it. Walls have ears, and this wall is a very important wall. It has heard tears and prayers of hundreds (thousands, perhaps) and stood through the various phases of the history of the native. It can tell that the tour guide is being inaccurate, but it is doesn’t say anything…it’s just waiting to be asked. It has seen several centuries and will witness more, so it has developed courage and nonchalance. It was built for that kind of thing.

It is the gentle sky which works perfectly as backdrop. It’s expansive, covering the entire frame… and is the reason every other element in the frame stands out, but it doesn’t demand any of the credit. It leaves it to happy birds and coconut fronds.

What is the focus of this photograph? It’s everything and nothing. I doubt if Kyei set out to take merely a shot of birds, coconut trees and a wall –everybody can take photographs of buildings and birds.

I suspect that he set out to capture mood; the adjectives “calm”, “gentle”, and “home”. He recognises that it’s not something e can easily do. Memory? Fine, but mood is rare even to a camera. In the end, he wants something with longevity in its beauty, so he looks to the sky…at the one thing which is farthest from the naked eye and closest to God. This is the result. Everything in the frame looks like it’s supposed to be there, like they have been carefully picked out for a ceremony.

This picture is brilliant, because it’s natural, an accident even. But it’s an accident that Kyei intended and patiently ambushed.

It is beautiful and serene –this picture –to the point of therapy. It is also a serious picture, and pays homage to the sky and its purity. It’s interaction with the eyes is silent and meditative, so it’s an important picture.

A version of this essay appears on myershansen.wordpress.com

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Photography & Spoken Word

#SpitBarsNPoetry18 scheduled for September

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Communications and Creative Arts Events power-house, Crabbita Media Consult in partnership with PoetryGH, announce the second edition of its Spit Bars and Poetry concert.

The event is popular for assembling Ghana’s crème de la crème in poetry and spoken word along with other creative arts displays including stage play, Live band music and dance.

#SpitBarsNPoetry18 is slated to take place in September at a location near you. And participants who predict the date and venue of the event correctly will win prizes from footwear company, Toe Tailor and clothing from Bello Couture GH.

Organizers of this year’s event have adopted #PressForProgress – the campaign theme for 2018 International Women’s Day (IWD), aimed at accentuating issues affecting the Girl Child and women via poetry and spoken word.

Performers would couch works and take on major social and cultural issues such as  Child Rape, Ending Early Childhood Marriage and Violence Against Women.

Spit Bars and Poetry is one of Ghana’s biggest platforms solely for some of the country’s most acclaimed poets and spoken word artists who continue to give their followers their money’s worth.

Manager and Press Agent at Crabbita Media Consult, Nathaniel Crabbe, called for a Headline sponsor to spearhead the event.

“Our flagship programs is undoubtedly Ghana’s biggest platform for poets, spoken word and other non-music creative arts performannces. We featured over twenty acclaimed and young talents last year”, a press release stated.

Patrons will also be treated to free eye examinations from Godly Favoured Eye Care Centre, free drinks and finger foods by the sponsored venue.

For sponsorship call 0201515939.

SpitBarsNPoetry18 is supported by Bello Couture GH, Wofa-Tee Designs, Pheb Collections, Soul Impact Family Productions, Ntama Trends, The Liddell Fashion Trend, with media support from Legacybase.com, EnewsGhana, Dottedigh.com, Donor’s Blog, Bra Nie, and Ntama Trends.

 

SUBMITTED!

 

 

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Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGHPoeticLicense: De-illusion – Asford PSALM

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Above the mountain, a man sees everything so little as though ants.

On the ground, everything seems otherwise.

What you think you have is an illusion of what you don’t have.

Likewise, is what you have an illusion of the otherwise.

 

A man with power is above the mountains.

His delusions make everything seem like ant.

A man on the ground sees everything otherwise and is illusioned into believing he’s without power.

But power itself is an illusion.

An illusion that deludes a man into believing he’s with authority.

 

Power is overrated.

It’s an incorrect assumption of authority.

A roof may be the forebearer of rain water.

But the thrusters beneath directs the path of the runoff rain.

A roof may shield-off the rain of sun rays.

But is that the only accountable factor to the conducive convection within?

 

A man who is deluded by his illusion of power forgets the authority of the thrusters which lay within it’s shadows.

That which is strategically positioned in the shadows of the delusions of power is what is truly real.

That’s authority.

 

Power is mostly an incorrect assumption of authority.

 

Asford Psalms

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Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Meditation – Asford PSALM

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All men are insistently referred to as dogs;

Cliché!

It’s particularly the bane when the issuer in the instance has become the reverse of the word ‘dog’;

A god who possess omnifarious qualities.

 

What really is the issue?

Is there an err in man’s creation to be referred to as such in an ungodly norm?

Or it’s the missing part taken to create another, complete from him?

Or that, he can’t resist whatever Eve gives to him?

 

All men are dogs;

Are all dogs men?

It’s not a fair comparison by any estate.

 

Consider not even the blasphemy;

If there’s an insistent craving to refer a man to a dog, the least consideration should be;

A dog is most loyal and faithful and a good friend to man when treated well with even the least.

Own a dog and just maybe you’ll understand.

 

Asford Psalms

 

 

 

 

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Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Daydream – Asford PSALM

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The night visions beckon me to a wake.

I have stayed all night to figure it right;

From the mammoth to its tiny bits.

 

Night is gone, day is here;

But I’m stuck in a looping rear.

For a reason or the other and though the sun is here;

It seems to have not found a way to light away my fear.

 

My arm is up and my jaw sits atop.

But in a new day I flay in the same dream non-stop.

I’m at the mercy of a night vision that won’t go away;

A day dream; one in part, the same.

When at all can I walk my thoughts?

Can I even work my thoughts?

Will it even be worth it?

 

Gracefully and all of a sudden,

A snap!

His snapping fingers won’t stop until my mind responds to him with same.

Why are you lost in your thoughts son?

You are in too deep in the wrong way.

Walk out of your thoughts and make it work;

Your thoughts on its own has no legs!

Lucky for you, you have two legs and arms too.

So make it work!

 

Asford Psalms

 

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Music

DADDY DEAREST! Sarkodie flaunts “barrister” daughter in new images

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Since she arrived in 2016, Titi (Adeline Owusu), and her father Sarkodie have been simply inseparable. His pride and joy, the adorable little girl has been the subject of endless affection not just from her rapper dad, but also from a wide section of Ghanaians.

The two have documented their close bond via many heartwarming pictures (most prominently on the album cover of hiphop act’s latest album “Highest”), often promptly becoming social media fodder.

Here’s the latest instalment, posted by the rapper on his Instagram act, and captioned “Madam Maame Adwoa Owusu Addo – Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana … Chambers – @cqlegal”

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Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Nowhere to go – ASFORD PSALM

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The first time was to be my last.

The first time was to come by and away it goes past.

But then I tasted the sweet in the crevices and the cracks;

And I have lost all haste to leave thus fast.

 

The first was to only be but the first;

Until I tasted more of its sweets.

Now it has had me mellow and my craving thirst has bid me to follow.

With nowhere to go I am an obliged fellow;

I have lost all counts and can’t keep score.

 

I am livid though I ask for more and more.

I will love to go back to where I came from.

Contrary, here I am, held against my will to the sweets of this world.

The first time was a wish;

The second was a charm;

The third meant no harm, but here I am, I have been bewitched.

And it seems there’s nowhere to go.

 

Asford Psalms

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