Ghanaian artist fights social injustice by urging men to dress as women

by Staff writer

A Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey has decided to start wearing his late mother’s clothes to honour her memory and to highlight social injustice against women in Ghana.

The art piece titled My Mother’s Wardrobe was inspired by what Clottey described as the basic injustice at the heart of Ghanaian funeral rituals.

According to Ghanaian tradition, a mother’s belongings are locked away for a year after her death and then distributed to her daughters and other women in the family.

As an only son, Clottey had no sister to inherit these belongings and so would have lost the very fabric of his mother’s memory.

So he decided instead to put on his mother’s blouses, carry her bags and walk through the streets of Accra.

“I wanted to enact my relationship with my mother but also point out this imbalance,” explains Clottey, speaking at the Contemporary African art fair in London.

“I could feel her presence very close up, the clothes had her smell.”

A group of artists, family and friends associated with Clottey also joined in, with both men and women leaving their homes, dressed in their mother’s wardrobes, to convene in the centre of the city.

“Gender roles are very limited in our community but we all felt very comfortable in those clothes,” explains Clottey.

“People who saw us were taking pictures and very happy at the idea.”

His rather rare presentation has generated quite a bit of controversy online with some describing his idea as “brave” and “excellent”.


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