From the Series
Accra-based photographer Ofoe Amegavie is best known for his depictions of Ghana’s vibrant fashion scene and other well-known projects like “Portraits of Accra, My City,” which is a monochrome look at the city’s medicine women. This time, the artist focussed his talents on his home country, documenting the tribal and regional festivals that celebrate tradition and culture in the West African nation.
Why the interest in festivals?
Sometime last year, I volunteered on a festival project in Jamestown, one of the oldest districts in Accra. It was Homowo, a traditional festival of the Ga people. There I taught some children who allowed me into their homes to fully experience the festivals with their families, and that was truly eye-opening for me. One of their grandfathers was a sub-chief so I got front row seats to all the intimate details of the festival. After Homowo, I decided to expand the project to other parts of the country to show the diverse, rich culture of Ghana.
What do you hope to achieve with this series?
I really want to show the heritage and beauty of my people so by the end of this series, I hope to have properly documented the traditions and festivals of Ghana so people can experience them through my photographs.
What did you find most difficult about this series?
The challenge so far has been finding information on the dates of each festival. They happen every year but since they are based on the traditional calendar, the dates are not consistent. As a way of working around this, I have to travel to the different places ahead of each festival to get the correct dates.
Have your subjects seen the pictures? If so, how did they respond?
Yes, they have and they were all excited to see them. What I do is, I take a shot and show it to the person before I move on to the next subject. I plan to put together collections of photos and presenting them to the various traditional houses I visit, ahead of time.
What have you learnt in the process of working on this series?
I am still learning about my home, Ghana. I am still discovering how alike and diverse we are as a people in general. I am learning the traditions of my people, why certain things are the way they are, and why some things are done, and others, frowned upon. Most importantly, I am learning how to tell vivid stories with my photos.
Is the series still ongoing? For how long? Where do you plan to visit next?
This is a project I am running over a period of at least two years. That’s the plan but it might extend further. I am visiting the Central Region next for the Afahye Festival. Hopefully, it will be fun and I’ll gain new experiences and insights.
What else are you working on?
At the moment I’m not working on anything else besides this project. It has my full attention because I want to make sure that I do it justice.
See more of Amegavie's work here.