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October 5, 2010

Two years ago, Mabel O. Wilson and Peter Tolkin traveled through Ghana, visiting the cities and documenting the architecture that had been erected over a thirty-year period, beginning in the late 1940s, when colonial rule was ending. These mid-century buildings were mostly modernist, designed by architects from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Lebanon, Italy and Ghana; they had been reviewed in contemporary architectural publications, as part of a lively debate on what became known as “Tropical Modernism.” Until recently, their legacy had all but disappeared from the historical canon. Wilson and Tolkin's trip was motivated by a desire to see how these buildings had fared in the half century since their construction, and to explore how they functioned in today's increasingly urban and global contexts. The resulting photographs are on view at STUDIO-X NEW YORK until December 16th, in an exhibition entitled "Listening There: Scenes From Ghana." Here's a preview.

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Beauty parlor, Osu, Accra.
Beauty parlor, Osu, Accra.
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American Embassy, interior, decommissioned and modified. Architect: Harry Weese & Associates, 1956.
American Embassy, interior, decommissioned and modified. Architect: Harry Weese & Associates, 1956.
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Architect’s private residence, Accra. Architect: Kenneth Scott Associates, 1961.
Architect’s private residence, Accra. Architect: Kenneth Scott Associates, 1961.
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Architect’s private residence, living room, Accra. Architect: Kenneth Scott Associates, 1961.
Architect’s private residence, living room, Accra. Architect: Kenneth Scott Associates, 1961.
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Student and Cultural Center, University of Cape Coast. Architect: COMTEC (Renato Severino), 1964-67.
Student and Cultural Center, University of Cape Coast. Architect: COMTEC (Renato Severino), 1964-67.
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Statue of Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah, looking towards the National Museum of Ghana, Accra.
Statue of Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah, looking towards the National Museum of Ghana, Accra.
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Private residence, Accra. Architect: Nickson and Borys, 1962-66.
Private residence, Accra. Architect: Nickson and Borys, 1962-66.
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Private residence, roof veranda, Accra. Architect: Nickson and Borys, 1962-66.
Private residence, roof veranda, Accra. Architect: Nickson and Borys, 1962-66.
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Private residence, interior, Accra. Architect: Nickson and Borys, 1962-66.
Private residence, interior, Accra. Architect: Nickson and Borys, 1962-66.
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Private residence, Accra, 1958-61.
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Architect’s private residence, Accra. Architect: Lokko Associates, 2005-06.
Architect’s private residence, Accra. Architect: Lokko Associates, 2005-06.
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Beauty parlor, Osu, Accra.
Beauty parlor, Osu, Accra.

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