A Ride to Redclay Studio | Reflections & Reminiscing with Ibrahim Mahama hosted by Fishbone via Sanatu Zambang Podcast
Ibrahim Mahama uses the transformation of materials to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalisation and economic exchange. Often made in collaboration with others, his large-scale installations employ materials gathered from urban environments, such as remnants of wood, or jute sacks which are stitched together and draped over architectural structures.
Mahama’s interest in material, process and audience first led him to focus on jute sacks that are synonymous with the trade markets of Ghana where he lives and works. Mahama has said. ‘I am interested in how crisis and failure are absorbed into this material with a strong reference to the global transaction and how capitalist structures work.
“I was thinking about the idea of Lazarus in relation to the bible, when christ brought Lazarus back to life, Lazarus came as a man, but I was thinking about this idea that if something dies and is brought back to life, at least it should be able to bring back memories of the dead or afterlife. After acquiring the @nkrumahvolini I discovered these bats inside the building and I decided to the bats in the building as they are, the bats inspired me to make these new drawings and collages in London @whitecube. They were also an installation which was made up of these abstract bats that I made using these old canvasses that have been used to cover dead engines for a long time. “Ibrahim Mahama
In the early 1990s and early 2000 up through to even 2008, Nkrumah’s secret ‘dungeon’ in Tamale was a key destination where residents of Tamale especially people in Nyohini, Zogbeli, Lamashegu, Sabongida, Aboabo, etc. used to scout for water.
These were hard times when water shortage was common in the Metropolis especially, during the dry seasons. And indeed, people got what they sought there in times of water crisis.
The building was bought by renowned Ghanaian artist, Ibrahim Mahama and will now serve as one of the few, but biggest art spaces in Northern Ghana.
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.
“On the exhibition Capital Corpses, for me, I have been always interested in these sewing machines in terms of what they represent when they were used by young people to learn the trade, I am also interested in when they are no longer in use. I always ask myself what would happen if we try to resurrect or bring these old machines back to life, I was also interested in sound because I was trying to deal with memories in different forms. The old classroom desks were collected and making new ones for the schools, it was like combining the formal and informal sectors into one. “Ibrahim Mahama
Mahama joins the ranks of Prof. J.H. Nketia (Laureate 1997), Tetteh Adzedu (Principal Award 1998), and El Anatsui (Laureate 2009) as previous Ghanaian Laureates of the Prince Claus Awards. Prince Claus Awards honour individuals and organisations for their excellent, ground-breaking work in culture and development. The seven 2020 Prince Claus Laureates were announced on 2 December in an online ceremony.
The Pino Pascali Foundation announced that the Pino Pascali Award 2021 – 23rd Edition- has been granted to Ibrahim Mahama.
The jury, headed by Rosalba Branà, director of the Pino Pascali Foundation, Adrienne Drake, director of the Giuliani Foundation for Contemporary Art in Rome, and Nicola Zito, art historian and curator of the Pino Pascali Foundation, have explained their decision as follows:
“Ibrahim Mahama, a young artist from Ghana, has been playing an important role in the international art scene for the past few years. His main focus is on the human condition, on nomadism, on migrations and people’s exploitation. His art has strong political connotations. Mahama contaminates art language from site specific installations to photography and assemblage, with the intention of making the audience reflect upon the failures of modern society.”
” @tracynkthompson intellect and also her patience and the work that she does, there’s so much promise around it in terms of looking at it in the art form. I think on the 31st December 2021 when she talks about her work and shows the processes people will get to understand.
My travels around the world have really enforced the idea of community building in me, even now more than ever. We need to learn to invest more in our communities to create things that somehow will outlive ourselves. The problem is that we think at the moment, but we have to learn to think beyond the moment”Ibrahim Mahama
Ibrahim said he hopes to build a future from the history left behind by people who had a great vision about society. He believes our past if brought to this present day, can give us an opportunity to redirect our future to an amazing experience.
As a creative artist, Ibrahim Mahama did not leave out the fact that the way we think affects how we do things. This he said that, by his weird imaginations, he hopes to bring those abstract thoughts to life in his works.