'Liverpool Counterpoint 1'



Of this print Atta Kwami said: "somehow or other the slave ship appeared sails and all." Kwami cut this print from his drawings of a Ghanaian comb ( and another from the Island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea ( These form the "sails" of the slave ship, while the area of decorative patterning that forms the "hull" of the ship was cut from Kwami's sketches of the punched designs on the cylindrical base of a heavy disk-shaped brass anklet (32.107.1) of a type called adalà. Married Igbo women of high social status wore adalà on their ankles to show their prestige. The historical theme of the print’s composition is reinforced by the design of the Ghanaian comb, whose handle is carved in the form of a European castle. European forts and castles dot the Ghanaian coast and hold memories of the transatlantic trade in captive Africans shipped from Ghana to the Americas, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries. But for Kwami the ship icon appeared as if by accident, because he only recognized it once he had completed his print.