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Tropic Antics
Lesley Lokko
Mar 23, 2016 (6pm)

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In 2004, architect, academic, and novelist Lesley Lokko made the decision to build her own house in Accra, Ghana, where she grew up. In an era where middle-class Ghanaian aspirations tend firmly towards neo-Classicism, Lokko’s “Miesian mud house” provoked much criticism. ‘Is it a petrol station?’, one passer-by asked indignantly, referring to the white, square Shell petrol stations, first introduced in Accra in the early 1960s, few of which are still standing in their original state. In conjunction with the Graham Foundation’s new exhibition, Architecture of Independence: African Modernism, Lokko will explore the relationship between form, memory, identity, and independence.

Lesley Lokko is head of the Postgraduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg and the author of nine best-selling novels. She received her BSc(Arch) and MArch from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, and her PhD in architecture from the University of London. She has taught at schools of architecture in the US, the UK, as well as South Africa, where she was Visiting African Scholar at the University of Cape Town. She is the editor of "White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Culture, Architecture" (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) and has been an on-going contributor to discourses around identity, ‘race’, African urbanism and the speculative nature of African architectural space for almost twenty years.

Image: House Lokko. Completed July 2005, Accra, Ghana. Photo by Lesley Lokko.

For more information on the exhibition, Architecture of Independence: African Modernism, click here.