Lee Nukpe’s Nubile: A Carving With A Shadow

  • kari'kacha seid'ou FACULTY OF ART, KWAME NKRUMAH UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, KUMASI
  • George Ampratwum
  • Kwaku Boafo Kissiedu
Keywords: nubile, patriarchy, gender comformity, double-coding, gender ambivalence, trans-identity

Abstract

The Ghanaian sculptor Lee Nukpe belongs to the post-Independence or post-World War II generation of visual artists in Ghana whose bodies of work have not had due critical assessment, contextualization and review. The paper reviews Nukpe’s late-career work, Nubile, a bas relief representation of a bare-breasted young woman arrayed in Ghanaian nubility rites insignia. The authors identify carryovers from Ghana’s colonial and post-Independence generations such as the predominantly social realist aesthetic and veiled conservative sex and gender motifs. However, the authors also point out how the cut-and-dry cultural and formal motifs in Nubile are also undermined by Nukpe’s ostensible double-coding. This spectral feature of Nubile presents it as a “text with a shadow”. The authors argue that to a large extent, Nubile lends itself to ambivalent readings which could challenge Ghana’s patriarchal definitions of woman and nubility.

Published
2020-06-22
How to Cite
seid’ou, kari’kacha, Ampratwum, G., & Kissiedu, K. B. (2020). Lee Nukpe’s Nubile: A Carving With A Shadow. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 7(6), 243-270. https://doi.org/10.14738/assrj.76.8468