Sculptures dedicated to our enslaved African ancestors by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo

Sculptures dedicated to our enslaved African ancestors by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo

Sculptures dedicated to enslaved Enslaved African ancestors lost by drowning, rivers, lakes and the Atlantic oceans by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, Ghanaian sculptor.

"What you see are the faces of our ancestors who were caught within slavery... I'm trying to portray what our ancestors went through... So we have various narratives. We have various people from different tribes. We have various states in which they were  before they were captured. There were those who were prisoners of war. Those were who were just purely kidnapped. There were those who were coerced. There were those who were clueless as to what was really happening. There are just so many narratives and it's not a single story, hence the decision to make it on this scale. So that even though we cannot create as many sculptors  as our ancestors who were lost, we will have clear representation of what really happened... We are using human heads because the art itself is paying homage to our ancient Akan practice of creating portraits of the dead... I want the installation to be that point of reference for how great we were, what went wrong and the possibility of us getting our greatness back,” says Kwame.

The Nkyinkyim Installation is an evolving art installation/monument created by award-winning Ghanaian artist Kwame “KABE” Akoto-Bamfo with contributions from Delali Dziedzoave (Architect & Accessibility Advocate).  The word “ Nkyinkyim” is both an ‘adinkra’ symbol and a proverb. It directly relates to the travels made by our ancestors. It also refers to the physical shape of the art installation which is going to be in twists and turns. The installation seeks to involve no less than 11, 1111 (Eleven thousand one hundred and one) figure sculptures to tell its story.  The first 1000 cement heads were created at Osramba’s studio with artists and apprentices from Accra and Nuhale.

As a part of the documentary series Enslaved, Samuel L Jackson met with Kwame Akoto-Bamfo to discuss the importance of sculpts faces that represent those who were stolen from their homelands in the transatlantic slave trade.

The Nkyinkyim Installation expanded to the United States in partnership with the Equal Justice initiative

Learn more about the Nkyinkyim Installation at