This photo series explores the concept of place and memory to analysis my relationship with Accra as a first generation British-Ghanaian. The relationship between the two countries can be described as a myriad of complexities. My work attempts to unpack the theories and works of African cultural theorists, writers and artists who seek to discover if there is such a thing as the ‘postcolony.’ Searching for quiet moments in a city that rarely stops allowed me to understand the dynamics of the country 56 years after independence. Living in the diaspora can instil one with a feeling of displacement, of not knowing one’s place or where one can truly exist or belong. The act of moving between two modes of existence requires reflection and resilience - an act of defiance.
Accra as a city therefore acts as a site of interrogation between personal and collective memories and history. The colonial era still bears its mark on the city, especially in Jamestown where a large proportion of images in this series were taken. Existing on the periphery - looking in from beyond - allowed me to look for landscapes and people who are searching for something. Something more. The camera becomes a shield, allowing me a degree of distance and solitude. This project acts as a means of analysing cultural heritage as well as allowing the process of reconciliation to occur.
There were several key questions I was left with afterwards: what does it mean to be British? What does it mean to be Ghanaian? Can these two states of being co-exist harmoniously or will there always be a level of conflict? These are deeply personal questions, ones which may have been processed during the project but never truly answered. Like the city of Accra itself, it is work in process, “a question unposed.”
Work produced from this project was shortlisted for Magnum Photos’ 30 Under 30 Documentary Photographer prize in 2014. This series were exhibited as part of the Invisible Borders space installation "A Trans-African Worldspace" at the 56th Venice Biennale of Arts.