I lived and worked in Ghana, West Africa from June 2008 to August 2010 where I served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. To say that I was deeply affected by my experiences would be an understatement.
I found Ghana to be a country of fantastic cultural diversity, ecological diversity, environmental diversity, and diverse ways of thinking. It is a country filled with beautiful people and great potential. It is also a country of great paradoxes and serious contradictions. My personal journey could also be described as diverse or disparate. I felt as if I was being constantly jerked back and forth from frustrated anger to profound elation.
I have come to realize that the issues that exasperated me in Ghana are all too similar to the issues that annoy and challenge me here in U.S. Take corruption for example; as Americans, we tend to see corruption as a Third World issue, yet around the entire world the rich are getting richer and the poor remain poor at best. The only difference I see now is that the issues of the developing world rest on the surface while in the developed world they have been camouflaged. I question which is worse.
In this body of work I am striving to convey the imprint that living in Ghana has left upon me. You could call this collection the embodiment of my personal reflection, digestion of thoughts and emotions that I have been processing over the past year during my readjustment to life back in America. I am drawing inspiration from the local tribal aesthetics, using it to express the issues I am addressing. The work reflects various Ghanaian craft forms and pays homage to the artisans with whom I interacted. Through this work, I am projecting the joys, the beauty, the frustrations, and concerns I encountered on a daily basis serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, as well as the new perspective I have gained of my own culture.For more insight behind Reflections of Africa, see Chris & Tammi; Our Peace Corps Odyssey.