The importance of Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

The world has not seen the likes of Anas Aremeyaw Anas, and I am not sure there will be another like him in quite a while. A lawyer who disguises as a Saudi Sheikh and camouflages himself as a rock, and no, he is no supporting actor in a television sitcom. Anas, based out of his native Accra, Ghana, encountered rampant societal evils in and around his country, and his response to those evils was to embrace unorthodox undercover investigative journalism. Clearly cutting away from the mainstream, dumbed down, market driven journalistic practices and the hollow promises of highbrow talking head journalism, Anas puts forth simple and lucid principles that govern his kind of journalism, namely: Naming, Shaming and Jailing. Purists may cringe, but I must say, I tend to nod my head in agreement this time, when Anas articulates that the ends justify the means. Anas’s work is governed by a moral compass, so to say, in his relentless pursuit of the unmasking of societal ills and evils and in particular the perpetrators and collaborators of such ills and evils, from human trafficking to human rights violations to corruption in high office, to superstitions and blind beliefs. Read More…

Ghana: VCR Theater Posters from the 1980s.

Mirroring the VCR days in India, the first VCRs reached Ghana in the 1980s to give rise to a rental structure and exhibition of video cassette movies, particularly in the urban centers of Accra and Kumasi. Quite like India again, a host of fixed and mobile VCR movie theaters rolled into business. Itinerant VCR businessmen would travel the country hooking up TVs and VCRs to portable generators even, in case of non availability of power, to create impromptu theaters of entertainment. A table and a couple of chairs were good enough. These VCR movie screenings were promoted via a large variety of colorful and exaggerated hand drawn and hand painted posters by self taught artists who often used discarded flour sacks as the canvas. In the idiom of popular street art, these posters exude a charming lack of sophistication, and therefore, is typically in opposition to high brow gallery art. This liberty of interpreting American and Hong Kong movies in a single frame for promotional purposes on the streets of sub-Saharan Africa, had given voice to a rather unique visual idiom – marked by childlike exaggerations, disregard for fidelity to content, emphasis on shock and gore, and a wicked touch of humor. Take a look.

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