How Two Artists Got Accra Talking About Climate Change

How Two Artists Got Accra Talking About Climate Change

What would it take to get people talking about climate change? This question propelled two artists from Accra, Ghana, on a two-year journey ending in an exhibition that drew hundreds of visitors from around the world.

On January 5th 2024, Asia Clarke and Christian Saint launched a month-long photo-documentary exhibition, titled STRANDS & STRUCTURES, exploring the connection between our hair, bodies, and Accra’s Anthropocene. Using hair as a visual language, the exhibition aimed to draw attention to six critical areas: air pollution, water pollution, transportation, energy, construction, and market economy.

Alongside the imagery, were sobering facts about Accra’s environment —facts that stunned, facts that horrified, and facts that called for immediate, collective response.

Each photograph and accompanying text served as a powerful catalyst for reflection and dialogue. From the eight structural collapses that shook Ghana to the haunting toll of 28,000 lives lost prematurely to air pollution, the exhibition laid bare the urgent need for action and sparked conversations on the pressing environmental challenges in Ghana.

Yet, amidst the grim realities, there was a glimmer of hope, a belief that we can pave the way towards a more sustainable future through art and advocacy. The exhibition provided attendees with a unique perspective on the climate crisis, leveraging a medium they were familiar with- hair.

Following the exhibition, which included a panel discussion and workshop, attendees asked them: “what’s next?” and “what can we be doing to make changes?” Speaking to Trybe, Asia revealed their future plans:

After the debut opening of STRANDS & STRUCTURES, we realised this is bigger than just one exhibition. Especially with the great reception we’ve gotten so far, we have even bigger ambitions for it. We’re looking forward to touring the exhibition worldwide and collaborating with environmental activists and organisations to promote climate consciousness. We are proud that we’re contributing to the expansion and evolution of African hair aesthetics in the global art scene.

As Clarke and Saint continue to push boundaries and challenge perceptions, they remind us that art has the power to provoke thought and drive meaningful change. And in a world in desperate need of inspiration, their work serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, creativity can be a force for good.

Check out more images from the exhibition below and follow them on Instagram to stay up to date on future projects. 


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