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Founder of GAJ, Fred K. Kyeremeh Speaks at NBMAA

Mr. Fred K. Kyeremeh in a traditional Kente cloth (File Photo)

(GAJ)  The Founder and Editor of the Ghanaian American Journal, Mr. Fred Kojo Kyeremeh spoke at the New Britain Museum of American Art, on Monday, December 4, 2017.

He was invited to speak to the Docents, a group of dedicated volunteers who provide guided tours to over 50,000 visitors and school children at the museum each year. His invitation was in line with an exhibition of Ghanaian Paintings at the museum dubbed “Ghana Paints Hollywood.” It is a vibrant exhibition featuring over 50 hand-painted movie posters created by Ghanaian artists in the mid-1980s to the early 1990s—a period referred to as the “Golden Age” of Ghanaian Movie posters. Commissioned to advertise movie screenings throughout the nation’s countryside, the posters reveal the unique artistic skills of their creators as well as the wide variety of Hollywood films that attracted the Ghanaian public, including blockbusters such as Coming to America, The Matrix, Indiana Jones, and Rocky. Many of these paintings were made by the best and brightest artists of a generation. Hired by local film distributors, these artists, including Joe Mensah, Gilbert Forson, Leonardo, and Death Wonder, competed fiercely and directly in the public eye for this exciting new work, being careful to sign and date the great majority of their paintings.

One of the giant posters of the movie, Sheena

As a proud son of Ghana, Mr. Kyeremeh used the occasion to share his childhood memories of American movies and the movie posters that were so creatively used to lure movie lovers like himself into makeshift movie houses around the country. The posters, ever so colorful, were not always the exact depiction of the movies represented, but they were a great way to catch the eye of movie goers.

The GAJ intimated that his upbringing in Ghana, although difficult at times, thought him some of his best life lessons. He spoke about his transition to the United States and how America has influenced his life. He recalled his time as a college student at Central Connecticut State University, which is ironically located in the same town as the museum, and his decision to join the military during his freshman year. He attributed his service in the military as an appreciation of all the opportunities he has been given in America.

He said he founded the Ghanaian American Journal out of a desire to bring Ghanaians living in the United States together on one platform to share ideas about their lives in America and to celebrate each other. He believes that Ghanaians in America have a duty to document and preserve the history of their lives in the United States so future generations can look back and be proud of their sacrifices and triumphs. It is his hope that GAJ would continue to grow and be a repository of information for Ghanaians in America “so we can share the story of our unique Ghanaian-American subculture with the world.”

He thanked the New Britain Museum of American Art, their Sponsors, and Ernie Wolf III, for bringing this exhibition to Connecticut. He also thanked the Docents for the opportunity to speak to them and encouraged them to continue to make a difference in their communities.

The exhibition is open to the public, November 9, 2017–February 19, 2018.

For more information visit, www.nbmaa.org

 

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