Art Attack: meet Rita Mawuena Benissan, visual storyteller reclaiming and curating Ghanaian history with Si Hene

A cursory search for Ghana’s rich culture and history on Instagram will bring you to Si Hene. Si Hene (Akan: Enstoolment) is a digital museum that exhibits some never-before-seen visual art pieces of Ghanaian royalty and heritage. Stately personages, epic moments in Ghana’s history arched with rich regalia displays that showcase the profound beauty of Blackness.

The visual storyteller behind Si Hene is Ghanaian-American Interdisciplinary artist Rita Mawuena Benissan. Born in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire in 1995 to Ghanaian parents, Rita Mawuena Benissan was raised in the United States of America. Perhaps, it is her cosmopolitan pedigree that first inspired her passions for showcasing the “black African experience” via photography and art.

After a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Apparel and Textile Design from Michigan State University in 2017, Rita furthered with a Master of Fine Arts in Photography and an African Studies Program Certificate from the University of Wisconsin. Currently, she is the Head curator at Ghana’s first contemporary art museum the Institute Museum of Ghana and a Cultural curator at the Noldor Residency– an independent Ghanaian artist residency and fellowship.

“Looking through photographic and cinematographic documents, it [Si Hene] provides a deeper perspective and preserves the legacy of the individuals that once ruled from the 1800s to the modern-day. I hope through this project to bring more accessibility for learning about Ghana’s royal history,” Rita explains.

In a time where the Ghanaian identity, both home and abroad, is finding its artistic expressions being noted, Si Hene serves as a time capsule for the way things were and the way things can be.

Scroll down to check out some captured pivotal moments in Ghanaian history from the archives of Rita Mawuena Benissan’s Si Hene digital museum.





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