Ibrahim Mahama spirit resonates with that of Kwame Nkrumah | Tracy Naa Koshie Thompson

Tracy Naa Koshie Thompson is a Ghanaian artist who lives and works in Accra and Kumasi. She is currently a Ph.D (Painting & Sculpture) student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana.

Thompson’s practice is greatly influenced by the profound reformations in the art curriculum of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at KNUST inspired by the emancipatory teachings of artist and pedagogue karî’kạchä seid’ou in 2003; which successfully opened the space for independent exploration of artistic interests.

Thompson’s work has featured in ‘Cornfields in Accra’ (2016) and ‘Orderly Disorderly’ (2017) — two large scale exhibitions organized by blaxTARLINES KUMASI in Accra, Ghana. She has recently participated in the inaugural Stellenbosch Triennial (2020) in South Africa.

Tracy Thompson’s work for “Orderly Disorderly” dissolves styrofoam in its parent, petrol, to generate these rigid-gooey forms. What drives her interest is how such an opaque polypropylene can have varied transparencies and bubbly effects when it comes into contact with petrol; a material that was birthed out of years of geological pressures and G-forces of the earth to the point that our organic kinship with it seems forgotten. Her work opens up the contradictions of how elements of nature can in turn become toxic to itself.


  Ibrahim Mahama to give Nkrumah Voli-ni (SILO) a new facelift

Before the fall of Nkrumah in the 1966 coup d’état, he was on a mission to building silos across the country to solve the post-harvest loss of farm produce and also improve the food security in the country.

The silos after his fall have been left to rot and some sold to businessmen at various stages of construction. No successive government has actually continued with what Nkrumah strives to do with the spaces.

One man who is on a mention to rescue these abandoned spaces is Ibrahim Mahama. Though the mission is not to use it for it intended purpose but what he seeks to do with the space it to give it a community ownership where people can look at it from many dimensional view that is meant to inspire and create the next generational innovators in the community.  

‘’one of the particular reason I was excited about the silo was that it is more like something which inspires you to create things and then you use part of the history and residue of it to create a work which at least brings capital and then uses the capital and the spaces you have created out of it come back to the old.’’

Ibrahim Mahama 

A Diagnosis of Time: Unlearn What You Have Learned is a collaborative effort of SCCA Tamale (Ghana) and ARoS Aarhus Art Museum (Denmark). The exhibition stems from a conceptual framework on time as a plastic and non-linear medium, focusing on materials, objects and processes embraced by the artists with a sensibility to our contemporaneity. In this show, we explore ideas related to modernity, technology, history and ecology, embodied in the works presented and the sites involved.

A Diagnosis of Time presents a total of thirty-three works assembled from varied sources. This includes contemporary artists from Africa and the diaspora, a selection of contemporary art from ARoS’s collection, and works of modern art from the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board’s collection. The exhibition also features certain cultural and scientific objects from collections of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and of the Museum of Archeology, University of Ghana.

The exhibition is networked across three sites in Tamale: SCCA Tamale, Red Clay and Nkrumah Voli-ni and one site in Accra: The Workshop, Museum of Science and Technology, Accra. A lineup of live and virtual activities – workshops, film screenings, discussions and more will expand on the exhibited works.

The founder of the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art, saw it necessary to save the legacy of the structure and preserve the stories told behind it. To those who were born in the 1970s, 1980s, and the 90s, in Tamale, the story of Nkrumah ‘volini’ was part of the stories told to children.

Located at Nyohini, three-hundred (300) metres away from the Abedi Pele roundabout, Nkrumah ‘volini’ has been believed by the locality to have some form of spirituality surrounding it.

For decades, this structure has been abandoned and its purpose is not well known to the public. Built with all standards, the Nkrumah government had built this structure purposely as a warehouse for foodstuff and other storage purposes, according to some sources. Unfortunately, successive governments have chosen to abandon it, which has made many people forget about its existence, except for it being in government records.

Despite the many decades of situated at the site of clayey soil, mud and water beneath it, the structure has withstand the threats of the water. This saddens me by the look of today’s contractors and funded of contracts in the country who just do mere works to blind the eyes of the public.

As significant as the place was in terms of providing water for households for domestic and other purposes, there was equally a myth about this ‘sacred’ place. It was noted that at least, each year one or two people used to drown in the place in the process of fetching water. This brought some fears among people as they thought of it as a spiritual phenomenon.

As a very old structure, Nkrumah ‘volini’ is a habitat to some owls, pythons, vampire bats, and other few creatures. The pythons are said to be spiritually inclined to the place since the locality in which it is situated (Nyohini) considers their land god to be a python.

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