Here There and Everywhere: Anticipating the Art for the Future
People: Part V   Politics

Image: Ghana Think Tank in Connecticut

Ghana Think Tank
John Ewing • USA
Matey Odonkor • USA
Christopher Robbins • Serbia

About their project, the artists write, “In 2006 three artists from the US set up a network of ad–hoc think tanks in so called ‘developing countries’ around the world. The artists sent briefs to each think tank outlining problems from local communities in the US. The think tanks were commissioned to find solutions to the problems. Once the solutions were proposed, the artists enacted them and documented the results. The results were sent back to the think tanks and the cycle continued. The project is an ongoing and expanding network, engaging new partners with each successive round. It began with think tanks in Ghana, Cuba and El Salvador, and has since expanded to include Serbia, Ethiopia and Mexico. In the United States, we have worked on solving the problems of Providence, Rhode Island and Westport, Connecticut. For instance, in reference to the lack of diversity in Westport (ninety-five percent are white and well-to-do) El Salvador and Serbia suggested we hire day-laborers to come to social gatherings (in this case, the exhibition’s opening). And, in response to the problem ‘my neighbor says my dog barks too much, but it doesn’t,’ Ghana suggested they change their dog’s name to LOVE. As a result, the owner was less irritated with the dog, took it out on more walks and the dog became calmer. “In essence, the project applies the typical process of community development against the grain. Traditional power roles are swapped, foreigners intervene in American problems and disparate communities are engaged in social dialogue.“

Exhibition Venues:
Westport Art Center • Westport, Connecticut, USA
September 26—November 30, 2008
The Westport Arts Center’s galleries are now one of the most important destinations in Connecticut for those interested in contemporary art. The Main Gallery features three to four curated exhibitions each year, centered on current themes or ideas in contemporary art.

Hampden Gallery, University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
April 2009
Located on the University of Massachusetts’ Amherst campus, Hampden and Central Galleries’ mission is to facilitate cultural understanding through exhibitions and in-depth adjunct programming. The main focus is on new work by emerging artists in the fields of painting, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, video and new media.