I found a plastic comb trodden into the ground in front of our house in Kumasi. What caught my attention was a slight distortion of the prongs, suggesting vigorous use. The prints made from this image are the only record as the comb is now lost, probably thrown away. Unlike other objects in the studio, the comb, though beautiful, was too personal. Like a used toothbrush.
The Afro comb still looks as if it was once carved, still looks designed for a purpose but with the possibility of endless interpretation.
Pamela Clarkson, 2013
Pamela Clarkson trained as a painter at the Central School of Art and the Royal college of Art, London from 1964-1970. She later studied printmaking at the University of Chile and the Catholic University, Santiago, Chile, 1973/4. From 1975-78 she was a Research Assistant in Printmaking at what is now the University of Wolverhampton. Since then she has practiced in Britain and Ghana, taught extensively in British Art Schools and travelled in north and south America, Europe, West Africa, and visited the Far East.
In 1991 Clarkson went to Ghana to set- up a printmaking studio in the College of Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, where she met her future husband, Atta Kwami. Clarkson and Kwami set-up a printmaking studio in their home in Kumasi which is now known as: ‘Take Time Press’. For the last two years they have divided their time between studios in Britain and Ghana.
Moving from one country to another is like passing from one age to another: one’s own and that of the host country. Art making, with its specific historic references, its handwriting and its status, does not always translate from place to place. It may be that basic elements of design are universal: they are found in nature; mathematically the golden section can be read in the swirl of an ammonite, but who’s looking and how is it interpreted?
I have always tried to be direct and open in the way that I start a piece of work; inevitably the concerns of painting and printmaking play a crucial role in the development and solution of a visual idea. Through landscape, both local and exotic, I aim to reflect conflicts I encounter: tenderness and brutality, rage and tranquility; more often than not the results are enigmatic.