The Development of Art Creation in Ghana

Article by: Rahamatu-Lahi Zakaria || Editor in Chief || Sanatu Zambang Newsroom

Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) dream started in 2013- Ibrahim Mahama

The passion that started Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) was the founder’s dislike for apathy in people’s attitudes to establishing businesses in the north for it grow.

SALMA SALIMBU workshop for Junior high schools in tamale

According to Ibrahim Mahama, one of the things he mostly disliked while growing up was that many people wanted to leave Tamale and go settle in Accra because they felt things were already established in Accra and could do good business there.  But he is of the view that it is equally very important to establish things here as well.

With this in mind, he always thought of coming back home to start an art gallery to celebrate people in the art industry especially those who are supportive of others’ works.

So, in 2013, he started the discussion with his dad to get his dream materialized. Building the center began in 2014 in Fuo area just around the SSNIT flats.

In the early part of 2016, the vision was to establish another place for artwork and dedicate the building at SSNIT to the only exhibition and that was around that same period he met Mr. Kofi Dawson, a renowned artist.

Narrating how they met, Mr. Ibrahim said they met while going to Nigeria to support a fellow Ghanaian artist who has been honored in Nigeria in 2015. The artiste is one of the most celebrated artists and has been living and practicing his work in Nigeria.  

There, Mr. Ibrahim was discussing with Mr. Dawson about SSCA he was working on in Tamale and how he wanted to do an exhibition on Mr. Dawson’s work. He says he did not just settle on Mr. Dawson but then he was a bit familiar with the work and the two most important things that drew him closer to Mr. Dawson were his Genuity and integrity.

Kofi Dawson helping children with their artwork at the scca

‘’And Mr Dawson is one of the few people that attends almost all exhibition and any time there is a thing happening in town, he comes. he is supportive of this generation and also art across.

‘’There are some artists who never go for programs that are not theirs’ ’he added.

So, from there, the pair started discussing the possibility of doing an exhibition, but then the building was still at a very young stage.  As the building was developing, they kept in touch on how they wanted things to be done at the grand opening of the center that will include the exhibition of Mr. Dawson’s work.

Mr. Ibrahim Mahama explained that the place is going to be used to celebrate artists.

Ibrahim Mahama @ibrahimmahama3 ( Founder of SCCA-TAMALE) speaking of @sccatamale and transforming educational systems trough bringing art into the community 💡at @zeit_geist19 ⠀

‘’We will dedicate this place to Kofi Dawson and his generation and some of the generation that came after him from the 20th century for the contribution that they have made’’.

Ibrahim Mahama 

He also made mention that the center will not just do an art exhibition but will include other fields. ‘’It is not just art but we will be doing an exhibition on architects and some musicians that have left a legacy not just in the field of art but also intellectuals as well who have made an impact in the way we think’’

Officially the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art was open on the 27th of May, 2018 with the spotlight on Kofi Dawson whose work were been exhibited.

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