A Discussion on Asafo Flags from Ghana with Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of the V&A East and Karun Thakar, independent researcher and collector.
Saturday, 6 November 2021, at 10 - 11:30 am PT
Asafo Flags are spectacular militia insignia of the Fante states along the southern coast of Ghana. Drawing on historical examples from the Karun Collection, Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford and Karun Thakar will exchange various viewpoints from collecting to understanding the complex meanings and practice of this textile art form. Gus and Karun will place Asafo flags within the wider context of global textile arts and reveal how the flags’ seemingly simple patterns can be ‘read’ to reveal aspects of the communities who made them, and the performances in which they played a part. They will explore how the very sophisticated art form of Asafo flags is seen in relation to colonial writings and Western art practice. Furthermore, they will discuss the question of who are today’s bearers of this tradition, and what are the responsibilities of public and private institutions that house these flags in relation to post-colonial dialogue.
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Tracing Patterns Foundation, Ethnic Arts Council of Los Angeles