Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana | Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costumes

September 3, 2016 to September 4, 2017

The ROM’s new exhibition, Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana takes a historical and contemporary look at Asafo flags. These flags are the insignia created for the numerous military Asafo companies of the Fante states along the coast of Southern Ghana. Historically, Asafo companies were in charge of the safety and protection of the local community as well as warfare. Today they act as the vibrant core of local communities. Their flags depict narratives of pride, wisdom, and defiant messages to enemies and are sacred objects depicting the spirit and history of a company.

Featuring stunning handcrafted flags, brilliant costumes, artifacts and stirring videos, Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags of South Ghana, brings life to the amazing stories behind the Asafo flags and the people who conceive and wave them.


Comment by Ana Beltrame

I would like to know, if possible, why did you add the word "ridicule" to the title of the Asafo flags exhibition. It's different, it's unusual, but I can't see any particular ridicule on it.

I respect your opinion, for certainly you know much more than I, so I would appreciate if you explain me what is seen as ridicule in the Asafo flags.

Comment by Lead Concierge

Asafo flags are often used as a way to ridicule opponents. They send defiant messages by which one company asserts their superiority over others, often metaphorically portraying their opponents as helpless and foolish.  Thus ridicule is very much part of the visual and performative dimensions of these artworks.