Southern Ghana is home to sub-Saharan Africa's most dynamic and enduring glass bead-making tradition. For over 400 years, Ghanaian bead artists have been producing powder-glass beads from recycled glass to meet local demands of fashion and customary practice. Glass Beads of Ghana, the first exhibition to look closely at this distinctive art form, is drawn largely from the Newark Museum's own extensive collection, one of the few such collections in the world.
The exhibition focuses primarily on the contemporary creation and use of glass beads in southern Ghana, with an emphasis on recent innovations. Video footage and contextual photographs, along with examples of bead molds and tools, highlight the technological process of making beads. The exhibition also includes a recreation of a Ghanaian market stall, complete with touchable examples of these colorful beads.
Glass Beads of Ghana is based on the extensive field and archival research of Dr. Suzanne Gott of Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada, who has developed the exhibition for the Newark Museum along with Dr. Christa Clarke, the Museum's Curator of Africa, the Americas and the Pacific.