Media Arts Program

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.


Dodge West - a film by George Afedzi Hughes

<em>Dodge West</em> - a film by George Afedzi Hughes
<em>Dodge West</em> - a film by George Afedzi Hughes
<em>Dodge West</em> - a film by George Afedzi Hughes
<em>Dodge West</em> - a film by George Afedzi Hughes

"Whereas the Wild West is an America heritage, its literature, movies and art are a global phenomenon. Growing up in Ghana as a child in the 1960s and 70s I watched TV series such as Bonanza and the Lone Ranger. We reenacted cowboy combat scenes and collected chewing gum cowboy cards, which we used as currency to play poker. In those days, during Christmas the most coveted toy for a boy to have was a cap gun, because they were very rare especially in Ghana where no one ever saw a real gun.

"In retrospect, the mythologized Wild West has brought into scrutiny what actually happened from what is fiction. I am curious about anomalies and deviations of that history that may have been partially or fully ignored. For example, I am fascinated by the contributions of rugged female personalities such as Martha Jane Canary alias Calamity Jane, Stagecoach Mary Fields, Lillian Smith, Annie Oakley, and Pearl Hart, especially in a male-dominated occupation. In my research I was also intrigued by the fact that William Forbis in his book 'The Old West' (1973) states that nearly one cowboy in three was either Mexican or Black male. However my objective in this project is not to 'illuminate' additional biographies of notoriety but to shed light on alternative perceptions of the Wild West history.

"The process of shooting the videos involved locations that were not transformed or repurposed. We approached each scene with prompted themes and relevant minor props but no scripted dialogues but improvised conversations. We adapted to available objects, décor, weather conditions, and space on location upon which scenes were developed.

"The overarching concept was to approach the subject with nonlinear plots, by emphasizing experimentation and amplifying familiar myths and facts 'bordering' around duels, bar fights, raids, outlaws, gambling and debauchery. Furthermore there was little or no attempt to develop an elaborate and continuous narrative but 'vignettes' interwoven by video editing possibilities."

George Afedzi Hughes

Nick Butlak, Lauren Howard, George Afedzi-Hughes, Mary Johnson, Ian McCrohan Lowell Merritt, Ruby Merritt, Brian Murchison, Jeff O'Connell, Cassandra Paul Robert Rossi, Liz Rywelski, Dana Saylor, Gary Sczerbaniewicz, Necole Zayatz
Jeff O'Connell, Corrina Waxmann

Alex Derwick, Anthony Dimezza, Jayne Hughes

George Afedzi-Hughes

George Afedzi Hughes studied painting at The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, College of Art, Ghana, where he earned a BA in Painting and Drawing (1989), and an MA in Art Education (1992). He later received his MFA in Painting (2001) from Bowling Green State University. George relocated to the United States in 1994. Since then he has taught at the University of Toledo as Adjunct Instructor, at The University of Oklahoma as Assistant Professor and currently as an Associate Professor at The Visual Studies Department, at SUNY at Buffalo since 2006.

George's work involves painting, performance art, installation and poetry, utilizing the turbulence of colonialism as a premise to highlight parallels between that violent history and contemporary global conflicts. His projects interpret in visual form the spectacle of information, knowledge and subjectivity by contrasting violent imagery with conciliatory imagery from sports.

His performance art evokes allegorical spectacles through interdisciplinary media, incorporating body art, music/sound, costumes and ritual, with the intent of transposing lifelike situations into memorable dramatizations.

George's work has been shown internationally. His work has been featured in museums and galleries in England, Germany, France, Holland, China, Portugal, South Africa, Nigeria, The United States and Ghana. George is represented in Germany by Artco Gallery, in Portugal by Influx Contemporary Gallery, in Ghana by Artists Alliance Gallery and in New York City by Skoto Gallery.