Woori 2024:

Notes From the Curator

Woori 2024 was curated by the multidisciplinary artist, researcher and author, Sela Adjei (PhD). Below are the curatorial texts about the festival. 

Curatorial Statement

As we celebrate Woori 2024, it is my privilege to reflect on the remarkable journey of the Nubuke Foundation and its immense role in shaping Ghana’s cultural and creative industries. The 4th edition of the Woori Festival, themed "Weaving a Sustainable Future for the Next Generation," represents a significant milestone in our endeavour to develop, preserve, sustain, and invigorate Ghana’s rich weaving traditions. The Nubuke Foundation, since its inception, has been a beacon of cultural preservation and innovation. Located in the heart of the Upper West region, in Loho near Wa, Nubuke Centre for Textiles and Clay has become synonymous with the promotion of Ghana’s culture, tradition, and artistic innovation. The annual Woori Festival, originally conceived as a celebration of Ghana’s weaving traditions, has transcended its initial scope to emerge as a cultural movement, aiming at the preservation and promotion of weaving and textiles as a sustainable art form. Woori 2024 is a cultural dialogue and an intergenerational exchange where the past converses with the present to shape the future. This year's theme is deeply rooted in the rich textile traditions of Ghana, reimagined through traditional weaving patterns, fashion, music, performance, innovative design, and skill-sharing workshops. Nubuke Foundation's interest and commitment to nurturing a new generation of creatives in the art and craft of weaving ensures its relevance and longevity for posterity.

Central to our mission in this year’s edition of Woori is the enrichment of the creative lives of children and young adults. Through the mentorship of senior artisans and the expertise of skilled workshop facilitators, we are crafting a sustainable future for the upcoming generation of artisans and craftspeople. This educational approach is not just about imparting skills; it is about instilling a sense of cultural identity, pride, community building and continuity. Through these interactions and significant engagements, we are nurturing a new generation of cultural custodians and creative thinkers who will carry the legacy of Ghanaian weaving traditions forward. The pedagogical aspect of this year’s festival is crucial. We are introducing a series of workshops and educational programs designed for children and young adults. These are not mere skill-transfer sessions; they are immersive experiences that connect the younger generation with the essence of Ghanaian identity through the art of weaving. Through these interactions and significant engagements, we are nurturing a new generation of cultural custodians and creative thinkers who will carry the legacy of Ghanaian weaving traditions forward.

By actively involving the younger generation in weaving demonstrations and educational sessions led by experienced artisans, weavers and proficient workshop facilitators, we are not just imparting skills but are also laying the groundwork for a resilient and sustainable future. This approach ensures that the next generation of weavers is not only well-equipped with technical know-how but also inherits the rich legacy of artistic tradition. Our goal is to cultivate a deep understanding and appreciation of the art and craft of weaving, thereby fostering a strong, skilled community that can carry forward and innovate weaving practices and textile design. This commitment to education and mentorship is a strategic investment in the cultural and creative continuity of Ghana’s art and weaving community, especially in Wa, ensuring its vitality and relevance for several years to come. Preserving Ghanaian cultural values through weaving and textile design is a responsibility we must all endeavour to achieve. Each pattern, each fabric, tells a part of our national history – from the symbolic Adinkra symbols to the prestigious Kente cloth. Hence, our approach to Woori 2024 is critically informed by a deep understanding of the cultural and historical significance of weaving in Ghana. Weaving is more than a craft; it is a narrative medium that tells stories of our history, culture, and identity. The patterns, colours, and techniques employed in Ghanaian weaving are rich with symbolism and meaning, reflecting the societal values and philosophies that have shaped our nation for centuries. In preserving these age-old traditions, we are preserving the essence of our cultural identity. Through Woori 2024, we are not only exhibiting these textiles but also ensuring that the stories and values they represent are passed down to future generations. This year’s festival also emphasises the importance of sustainable practices in the art of weaving. In a world increasingly concerned with environmental conservation and sustainable development, it is imperative that our artistic practices align with these global goals. By focusing on eco-friendly materials and sustainable weaving techniques, Woori 2024 not only contributes to the preservation of our environment but also ensures the economic viability of weaving as a profession.

The exhibition at the Woori 2024 festival is a colourful merger of both contemporary and tradition-based art forms. Featuring works by both emerging Ghanaian artists and master weavers, the exhibition is a celebration of the diversity and dynamism of Ghanaian art. Each piece, whether a woven textile, a painting, or a digital installation, is a reflection of an artist or artisan’s interpretation of Ghanaian culture and tradition. These works serve as a starting point for critical dialogues about our cultural heritage, the role of art in society, economic growth and the future of Ghanaian artistic expression. The festival is also a reminder of the critical role of textile design in sustainable economic development. By promoting local craftsmanship and highlighting the global appeal of Ghanaian textiles, we are opening pathways for economic development that are rooted in cultural pride, sustainability and self-reliance. As we celebrate our weaving heritage, let us also weave a future where Ghana's cultural values continue to flourish, enlightening and inspiring generations to come. In essence, Woori 2024 is a cultural rebirth which serves as a bridge connecting past, present, and future. It is an initiative that nurtures respect and love for our traditions in the hearts of all those who form part of the creative networks connected to Nubuke Foundation Centre for Textiles and Clay, while equipping them with the skills and knowledge to carry these traditions forward. It is an opportunity for us to reconnect with our roots, to celebrate our rich heritage, and to envision a future where our traditions continue to thrive and inspire. As we gather to celebrate the art of weaving, let us also weave a tradition of hope, resilience, and creativity that will sustain Ghana's artistic legacy for posterity.  To ensure a future where Ghana's cultural values continue to flourish, enlightening and inspiring generations to come.

— Sela Kodjo Adjei, Ph.D.

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Nubuke Foundation, Wa 2024