University of Brighton Alumni Association

The Brighton Effect: Serge Attukwei Clottey

Serge Attukwei Clottey, photography by Nii Odzenma

Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey’s performance installations highlight Ghana’s soaring levels of pollution and help draw attention to social injustice…

In Ghana, jerrycans play a vital role in transporting water in times of drought but leave behind an environmental catastrophe, lying discarded by the side of the road, on city dumps and beaches and clogging up the country’s drainage system.

As an artist, Serge Attukwei Clottey uses the jerrycans (known locally as “Kufuor gallons”) to raise awareness of this plastic waste crisis and to rouse local communities into action. He pays locals to collect the jerrycans and then cuts them into small tiles, shaping them over an open flame, then moulding the different sections together before binding them with copper to create large, vibrant tapestries.

“The gallons come from different people and different parts of the country,” explains Serge. “So when I cut them

image of work

Photography by Nii Odzenma

and weave them together, it’s like merging different stories. It’s very symbolic but once I bring them together through the artistic process, it changes form and value and it changes people’s perception about dealing with plastic.”

Discussing the ethos behind his art in general, Serge adds: “I challenge convention and advocate the importance of creativity. Through my foundation – The Attukwei Art Foundation – I give back to my La community in Accra through school programmes, lectures and by raising awareness about global environmental issues.”

In recognition of his work in sustainability and his major contribution to the contemporary arts and community development, the University of Brighton awarded Serge an Honorary Doctorate of Arts in 2019.


Nic Ashton • November 1, 2019

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