Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Fosuwa Andoh’s Fyahplace ignites

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Williams
Fosuwa Andoh shows off one of her indigo-dyed shirts.
Mask-making workshops are part of the industry at Fyahplace, Rock Hall, rural St Andrew.

THE FIREPLACE means many things to different people - camaraderie, warmth, family, romance, comfort, and, of course, a home-cooked meal.

But for Fosuwa Andoh, who lights a fire every night atop a hill at Rock Hall, rural St Andrew, the fire, one of four elements, means dynamism,

energy, vitality, and vibrancy, and now, tomorrow at noon, she officially opens Fyahplace, right there on top of the hill.

It's "a project that brings out passionate emotion or enthusiasm necessary to stimulate and excite the imagination, a cultural art space, social enterprise rooted in African-centric traditions and sensibilities," the multitalented Andoh told Rural Xpress, recently.

It is "guided by a holistic approach to the promotion of arts, craft, and creative cultural enterprises, firmly rooted in providing a connection to the continent and its diaspora".

Tomorrow's event is an introduction to the creative space. There will be three main workshops on traditional pottery, textile dyeing, and creative writing. Patrons, who may take a musical instrument for a jam session later in the evening, do not have to take part in the workshops, and children are welcome. It is a chance to see what Andoh is doing, with the intention of having others join her eventually.

For, at Fyahplace, there will be various enterprises that are autonomous, but work together to provide a sustainable economy, Andoh said. There will be the cultivation and extraction of indigo and other natural dyes, organic farming, a rent-a-bed scheme, lazy gardener (plant what you need), and a farm shop.

The body and the soul - food for the body and sustenance for the soul - are part of the concept of Fyahplace, a place to chill and enjoy organic food and good company, and where 'Africanscentsation' oils, perfumes, incenses, and a variety of cloths, clothes, costume jewellery, high-quality art and craft, traditional pottery, wood and stone sculptures may be obtained.

Then there is the Mordecai School. "Our programmes and workshops are generally geared towards the support of self, building self-esteem, honing self-reliance, fostering community cohesion and developing creative skills on both the individual and collective levels," Andoh said.


six-week empowerment course


At present, Fyahplace runs the following courses: a six-week empowerment course for young, black men, titled, 'I remember, I believe'; talking patterns is about using traditional dyeing techniques; rhythms of life is an interactive workshop using African drums and traditional instruments exploring patterns and rhythms. There are also basic sculpture and African mask-making workshops.

"Masks are worn on the face for protection, concealment, performance, or amusement, and have been used since antiquity for both ritual and practical purposes. Masks are used for hiding and revealing. As objects, they have been used throughout the world in all eras and have been as varied in appearance as in their use and symbolism," Andoh explained. These workshops, she said, "explore the hiding and revelation qualities of mask and how identities can be concealed, and in doing so, new identities are crafted".

The workshops will be conducted by mainly Andoh, who has a variety of skills in many areas. This alchemist is a studio glass artist, drummer, fabric dyer, potter, mask-maker, sculptor, and costume jeweller, among other things. At Fyahplace, it is about creating and connecting, dynamism, energy, vitality, and vibrancy.