How I Made This: Theresah Ankomah’s Repurposed Produce Baskets, ARTNews (interview)


Theresah Ankomah’s monumental and immersive artworks put a new spin on West African basket-making traditions. Having learned basketry from local craftspeople, the Accra-based artist uses a variety of natural fibers such as kenaf, palm leaves, jute, and rattan to create woven environments whose appearance changes as light filters through them and casts shadows within and around them.

Repurposing is central to Ankomah’s art making, and her work often makes use of the kenaf produce baskets, or chalis, that are found in marketplaces across Ghana. Embedded in her art are the geopolitics of the region, where traditionally handmade items like baskets are being replaced by cheap imported goods.