Evolution of Science exhibition, curated by Kwabena Agyare Yeboah
opened on 9th December 2019 at the Museum of Science and Technology.
Featuring 17 artists, the exhibition, which closed on the 20th December,
sought to capture how scientific and medical research has progressed
over the years in Ghana. It also drew attention to some of the neglected
tropical diseases in Ghana, celebrated scientists, educators, health
workers and individuals who have contributed to the evolution of science
and revealed some of the impacts we have made at the global level.
exhibition opened with a composition by Edward Ayikoe (ELi) on neonatal
death in Ghana and a live performance of a rendition of Joseph Ben
Gaisil’s ‘The GoldCoast Farmers’ hymn’ by Yogendra Ahimi and the My
Albert Dowuona’s Ebola virus-shaped installation made up of little white crosses and surgical gloves.
2014, Ebola broke out in Guinea and quickly spread to neighbouring
countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone. At various points during the
epidemic, countries like Nigeria, Mali and Italy recorded cases too. The
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention tagged it the largest outbreak in history.
The Liberian national, Patrick Sawyer, who is said to have introduced
Ebola into Nigeria, died five days after arriving. Medical officers in
Lagos worked tirelessly to prevent further spread of the disease.
Eventually seven out of the 19 people who were infected in Nigeria died.
Albert Nii Nortey Dowuona’s “In Loving Memory”, an Ebola virus-shaped installation made up of little white crosses, topped with surgical gloves commemorated the epidemic and celebrated, with sketches and profiles, some of the medical officers and patients who died. One of those people is Dr. Stella Adadevoh, the Nigerian doctor who treated Sawyer. Dr. Adadevoh suspected that he had Ebola and went on to quarantine him despite requests to discharge him. She died in August 2014 from Ebola and is duly credited with curbing the spread of the disease in Nigeria.
Robert Commey’s impression of Asibi, the man from the Asibi strain of the yellow fever vaccine is derived.
Robert Commey’s painting was in celebration of Asibi, the man who even
in death continues to save lives via the Asibi strain of the yellow
fever vaccine. It also to an extent speaks to the Ghanaian contributions
to science at the global level and an attempt to name an individual who
is probably barely known outside the world of science in these times.
a collaboration, Hene Kwaku Kyere and Winfred Amoah drew attention to
some of the Neglected Tropical diseases endemic to Ghana through poetry
and painting. The CDC notes that
these diseases are common in places where people have little or no
access to clean water or the best ways to dispose off waste. It makes
one wonder why there are still places with little or no access to water
and beyond that, what investments we are making to eradicate these
As a health documentary photographer, Kobby Blay’s work told stories about women in medicine/surgery, disease outbreak and response, digital health, maternal and child health, eye prosthesis and rare diseases.
Photo via Kobby Blay
the exhibited photographs Blay shows how much work is being put in to
help persons who may require replacements, celebrating the ophthalmic
nurse and currently the first and only woman ocularist in Ghana, Evelyn
Kyere. Together with the team at Korle Bu, Kyere custom-makes prostheses
for patients. One can barely tell the difference between the
replacement and the real eye which performs the function of seeing after
the procedure is carried out.
And even though scientists and health workers in Ghana put in their best, Blay, in another set of photos, showed our need to holistically address and deal with our knowledge of and response to medical emergencies like epidemics such as the H3N2 influenza that hit some of our secondary schools in 2019.
In this series, there is a photo of three men who do not seem like students, praying on the premises of one of the secondary schools in the Ashanti region that was hit with the epidemic. There is another of a student sitting aloof on the window of a classroom. There is also a photo of someone washing their hands. This photo does not seem like a photo Blay made at the school but it is perfect for this story. Frequent hand-washing, avoiding close contact with symptomatic individuals and avoiding crowded places are some of many precautionary measures health workers advised during the outbreak and yet, one of the initial reactions to the contagious airborne viral infection was parents and guardians trying to get into the schools and take their wards away with them and others gaining access into the school to hold prayer meetings.
Processed X-ray film. Photo courtesy of Simon Bowman, Jnr.
Bowman makes us wonder how medical imaging has evolved and what the
future of medical imaging could possibly be. His work, borne out of his
dislike for and quest to “provoke conversations about medical imaging
and explore the beauty in the complexity of medical images”, consisted
of X-ray films. According to Bowman the images were taken through a
variety of unconventional chemical processes. By hanging the processed
films with wooden clothing pegs Bowman says he appropriated the analogue
photographic darkroom display style in the showing of his work.
the space that held a graphite and charcoal painting by Courage Hunke,
honouring Dr. Letitia Obeng, first Ghanaian woman to obtain a degree in
zoology and the first to be awarded a doctorate, one would also find a
little library with a collection of books shedding light on the
evolution of modern medicine in Ghana, food production and security in
Ghana, Plant disease control and detailing the life and works of the
likes of Dr. Letitia Obeng, Nicole Wesoama Pwamang who, in a 77–paged
book laced with great humour, details her battle with osteosarcoma in
her right femur and then later, lung cancer.
hoped to do a follow-up to her story as the years went by, but passed
in March 2018. Pwamang’s experience battling cancer urged her to
establish in 2014, the Wesoamo Child Cancer Foundation to help children
with cancer. Her story and that of all the children who passed on before
and after her, the Wesoamo Child Cancer Foundation and all the other
foundations creating awareness on childhood cancers and increasing
access to care should get us to do more than we are currently doing
where childhood cancers are concerned.
The Evolution of Science exhibition reflected on the past and present, celebrated the lives of individuals who have contributed and are contributing to science in Ghana and is urging us to say the names of and honour those who weren’t mentioned in the exhibition and reflect on the future of science in the country. Here is to many more years of employing music, photography, poetry, literature and other visual art forms in that venture.
Watch the launch of the “Evolution of Science” art exhibition by clicking the link below:
Discover more on the “Evolution of Science” art exhibition on our YouTube channel: