In January of 1835, a sizable number of African slaves in Salvador da Bahia orchestrated an uprising known historically as the most significant slave rebellion in Brazil, the Malê Revolt. All the same, this revolutionary episode is reported to have led to bloodshed, loss of lives, arrests, executions, forced labour, floggings and mass deportations. An estimated number of 8000 former slave rebels are reported to have been deported back to Africa, settling in West African nations of Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ghana. A ship carrying about seventy Afro-Brazilians from seven families arrived on the shores of Accra’s old port, Jamestown in 1836.
To date the descendants of these deportees are known in Ghana as the ‘Tabom’ people. On arrival to the Gold Coast, the Afro-Brazilians lacked knowledge in local languages and would answer ‘Tá Bom’ (Portuguese for ‘It’s alright’) to everything. The rebellion is said to be a turning point of slavery in Brazil, one of the last Latin American countries to abolish slavery as late as 1888.
Traces of these re-settlements exists in the West African nations through Portuguese names of former slave descendents as well as street names and architectural remnants – the most well known being the Brazil House located in Jamestown, one of the oldest district in the city of Accra. A place with a weighty history, Jamestown is a point where slaves were shipped from and became, post independence, a point of symbolic returns.
The Accra Study Days employ this historical backdrop only as a starting point. The Study Days will be framed around a series of exploratory mapping exercises focused on historical memory as that which is on a continuous loop; not only as pasts, but as futures. We will investigate migratory black cultures from Ghana to Brazil, through food, music/sounds and objects of worship with the hope that this allows for space to seek reparation for the past in the effective dynamics of cultural memory.
These meetings take place in reciprocal spaces where participants can engage in discussions ranging from translation or the untranslatability of identities, the impossibilities of ‘returning’ and the role of art in times of uncertainty.
Accra Study Days: Subject Displacements
Organized by: Gabi Ngcobo
Local Partner: ANO | A Cultural Research Platform
Public seminar: IT’S ALRIGHT! IT’S ALRIGHT!
Saturday, April 9 at Nubuke Foundation
7 Adamafio Close Accra, Gana
Telephone: +233 28 910 2163
Includes artist presentations and theoretical notes on subjects ranging from organic knowledge systems, the role of art in times of uncertainty, innovative interventions in public spaces, art education etc.
9h15: Welcome and Introductions by Gabi Ngcobo and Nana Oforiatta-Ayim
9h30: Presentations by Dineo Seshee Bopape, Serge Attukwei Clottey and Mavis Tatteh-Ocloo
10h30 – 11h00: Q&A (moderated by Jochen Volz)
11h00: Tea Break
11h30: Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh and Thiago de Paula Souza (moderated by Gabi Ngcobo)
13h45: Zohra Opoku and Vivian Caccuri (moderated by Nana Oforiatta-Ayim)