Serge Attukwei Clottey: TETTEH NTENI / Simchowitz DTLA

TETTEH NTENI is a solo exhibition by Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey that currently runs at Simchowitz DTLA in Los Angeles. The show features Serge Attukwei Clottey’s unique blend of mixed media exploring socio-political themes and showcases Clottey’s distinct style, primarily utilizing repurposed materials like Kufuor gallons, symbolic of his cultural identity. Through his ‘Afrogallonism’ ideology, Clottey intertwines environmental sustainability with narratives of identity and migration. The exhibition delves into his familial heritage and features portraits on collaged lottery tickets, offering insights into capitalism and personal narratives. Central to the showcase are installations reflecting Clottey’s artistic process and familial ties, inviting viewers to explore the transformative power of art and ancestral roots. The exhibition at Simchowitz DTLA runs until March 31, 2024.

Serge Attukwei Clottey: TETTEH NTENI / Simchowitz DTLA, Los Angeles. Opening reception and performance, March 2, 2024.

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Press release:

Simchowitz is pleased to present “TETTEH NTENI”, an expansive solo exhibition by renowned Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey. The exhibition will showcase Clottey’s distinctive style and profound exploration of socio-political themes through mixed media, highlighting his unique perspective on contemporary society. Opening at our DTLA location (727 East Washington Blvd. LA, CA 90021 / Parking: 720 E 18TH St.) on Saturday, March 2nd from 5PM – 8PM with a performance by Serge Attukwei Clottey at 6PM, the exhibition will be on view until March 31, 2024.

Serge Attukwei Clottey (born 1985 in Accra, Ghana, lives and works in Accra) works across installation, performance, photography, and sculpture. Clottey primarily engages with found materials sourced from his hometown, creating a dialogue with Ghana’s cultural heritage and identity. This highly anticipated showcase will feature a diverse selection of Clottey’s works, including his iconic assemblages made from repurposed Kufuor gallons, a medium that has become synonymous with his artistic identity.

Clottey’s re-use of these objects not only serves as a commentary on environmental sustainability but also delves into deeper narratives surrounding identity, migration, and cultural heritage. The Kufuor gallons, originally used as cooking oil containers and later repurposed for water or fuel storage, embody a conscious effort to transform and recycle plastic waste into art. This practice, a central tenet in Clottey’s body of work, is an ideology he refers to as ‘Afrogallonism’. In every facet of his work, Clottey invites viewers to contemplate the intersections of materiality, history, and culture, offering a nuanced perspective on the transformative power of art in the context of societal narratives.

“TETTEH NTENI” investigates the rich tapestry of Clottey’s familial heritage, tracing back to the migration of his forefathers from Jamestown to Labadi. In a new series of works, Clottey paints portraits over collaged, hand-written lottery tickets. These paintings are imbued with a combination of the complex impacts and influences of capitalism, notions of winning and losing, determination, disappointment, and intricately interwoven personal family narratives of migration, settlement, and displacement.

Central to the exhibition are two striking installations of Clottey’s plastic tapestries that offer poignant insights into his artistic process and the familial ties that underpin his work. The first installation is a dynamic collage, mirroring the bustling activity of his studio space. Here, artworks are meticulously folded, rolled, bound, or stored. The second installation serves as a powerful testament of the lasting impact of Clottey’s ancestors. Drawing inspiration from the pillars upholding his family’s estate in Labadi, it represents the fundamental origins of migration and establishment. While Clottey’s family didn’t originate from Labadi, their trading pursuits resulted in settling there through a verbal agreement, symbolizing the profound connections formed in the realm of trade. These pillars, beyond offering shelter from intense heat, endure as symbolic representations of resilience and steadfast determination. 

Clottey’s exhibition is a retrospective exploration through the use of varied materials and a profound engagement with community and the transformative power of familial spaces. Through this exhibition, Clottey invites viewers to delve into this history, to explore the ancestral roots that have inspired generations of artistic expression, and to witness the culmination of his creative journey thus far.

Serge Attukwei Clottey studied at Ghanatta College of Art and Design, Accra and Escola Guignard, Belo Horizonte in Brazil. He received an Honorary Doctor of Art from the University of Brighton. He has exhibited internationally at such venues as Dakar Biennale, Senegal; Desert X Biennial, Palm Desert, CA, and AlUla, Saudi Arabia; Kew Gardens, London, UK; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA; Venice Biennale of Architecture, Venice, Italy; The Eden Project, Cornwall, UK; The Line, London, UK; The Mistake Room, Los Angeles, CA; Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium Foundation, Norway. Clottey recently completed a commissioned portrait for King Charles III as part of the Windrush: Portraits of a Pioneering Generation project exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK; Duarte Sequeira, Braga, Portugal; Brigade, Copenhagen, Denmark; Gallery 1957, Accra, Ghana/London, UK; Simchowitz, Los Angeles, CA. Clottey’s work resides in several public collections, including Grand Valley State University Art Gallery, MI; Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, MI; Kunstmuseum Arnhem, Netherlands; Modern Forms, UK; Museum of African Contemporary Art, Morocco; Nubuke Foundation, Ghana; Palm Springs Art Museum, CA; Seth Dei Foundation, Ghana; The World Bank Collection, Washington D.C.; Tucson Museum of Art, AZ.

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