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Student's work exhibited online and at museum

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Published on 11 November 2021

Anthony Amoako-Attah
Anthony Amoako-Attah

A University of Sunderland PhD student and emerging glass artist will explore the influences behind his amazing work in an online exhibition which goes live later this month.

Ghanaian born Anthony Amoako-Attah is in the final stages of completing an exciting new glass artwork, Transition IV, which was commissioned as part of a series by Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens and will be on display at the museum between April and June next year.

But in advance of the in-venue exhibition, Anthony will talk about his practice and the process of creating Transition IV in the online exhibition, which also looks at his influences and the narratives behind his work, which include the history of Sunderland’s traditional industries.

Transition IV will be added to the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens collection.

Speaking ahead of the online exhibition, which is going live on Monday, November 22, Anthony said: “I aim to manipulate glass to look like woven fabric and achieve this by screen-printing using glass powders, glass enamels, waterjet cutting and finishing the process through kiln forming. As a Ghanaian glass artist I view glass as a ‘western material’ and look at it as a language, platform or container to express my cultural identity.

“My work concentrates on social, political, and cultural issues that intertwine with integration, migration, dislocation and my personal identity. To do this I use Ghanaian cultural Adinkra symbols and native Kente patterns. I marvel at the way fabrics are made and the drape-like folds which bear the mental and physical expressions of the weaver and wearer.

“Transition is series of glass artworks that talk about my life - from childhood dreams through to the realities of life. Each stage of my life is represented by fabrics. I believe the clothes we wear determine our mood and vice versa.

“The exhibition talks about my experience of Sunderland when I first arrived as a student studying for a Masters in Contemporary Glass. Coming from Ghana, my self-expression and dress changed alongside my environment. The artwork also details the history of Sunderland through fabric design, glass making, coal mining and shipbuilding found within the museum’s collection alongside traditional Ghanaian Kente design and Adinkra symbols.”

Anthony previously studied ceramics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, before heading to Sunderland to study his Masters and PhD.

Last year, Anthony won the Aspiring Glass Artists prize at the Glass Prize Awards 2020 for his work Transition of Life.

Following the completion of his PhD, Anthony is hoping to teach glass art, serving as a bridge between Ghana and the contemporary world of glass art.

Jonathan Weston, Exhibition Officer Contemporary Visual Arts at Sunderland Culture, added: “Anthony is an emerging and important glass artist and we’re thrilled to be hosting his Transition series both online and at the museum. His work is beautiful and I’m sure local audiences will appreciate his thoughtful references to glass making, coal mining and shipbuilding that he weaves through his work – and which he learned about and researched at the museum.

“Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens commissioned the artwork and exhibitions as part of our Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme. The work continues his exploration of his dual identity being born in Ghana and living in Sunderland.”

Anthony’s Transition IV exhibition will be online at sunderlandculture.org.uk from Monday, November 22, and on display at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens from April 2 to June 5, 2022.