Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle

May 9, 2019

Akosua Adoma Owusu, Welcome to the Jungle, 2019; installation view, CCA Wattis Institute. Photo: Johnna Arnold
Akosua Adoma Owusu, Welcome to the Jungle, 2019; installation view, CCA Wattis Institute; “Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful” [detail], 2012; Courtesy of the artist; Photo: Johnna Arnold

In a rare gallery exhibition, Ghanaian-American filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu premiered her newest works White Afro (2019) and Pelourinho, They Don’t Really Care About Us (2019) for her first West Coast solo exhibition Welcome to the Jungle at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.  Along with her award-winning Me Broni Ba (2009), these three works comprise her  “hair trilogy” which examines ideologies of beauty, power, identity, and the frictions inherent within.

The prismatic installation of films examines Owusu’s notion “triple consciousness,” an expansion of W.E.B. Du Bois’s notion of double consciousness into a third cinematic space. Owusu’s navigation of this third space puts into tension the representation of diverse identities of African immigrants interacting in African, white American, and Black American contexts. Part personal introspection, part cultural examination, Owusu plaits together keen cultural truths, biting humor, and deep humanity with visually rich, cinematic complexities.

Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle (May 9–July 27, 2019) was curated by Kim Nguyen and organized by Leila Grothe, and then traveled to the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. This exhibition ran parallel to artist Abbas Akhavan’s solo exhibition cast for a folly.

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Citations and links:

Editors. “Abbas Akhavan: Cast for a Folly & Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle.” Contemporary And, contemporaryand.com, March 14, 2019.


Hotchkiss, Sarah. “At the Wattis, the Aftermath of an Invasion and a Kaleidoscope of Black Experience.” KQED, kqed.org, June 4, 2019.


Johnson, Grant. “Akosua Adoma Owusu Talks about Triple Consciousness.” Artforum International, artforum.com, May 3, 2019.


Collymore, Nan. “Beauty and Power in Black Hair Culture.” Contemporary And, contemporaryand.com, July 10, 2019.