You Highlight What is Being Covered
„We have a different way of approaching things!“
Meet Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama who in this interview reflects upon history, heritage, and his practice of covering buildings in order to “give them different meanings and life forms.” Read more …
“We never really think about how a building is constructed, the labor that goes into it, and where the capital comes from. So this is where my work comes in. I use architecture as a tool to reorganize our thinking.”
Ibrahim Mahama uses the transformation of materials to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalization, 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. Fabricated in South East Asia, the sacks are imported by the Ghana Cocoa Boards to transport cocoa beans and eventually end up as multi-functional objects, used for the transportation of food, charcoal, and other commodities.
Ibrahim Mahama was born in 1987 in Tamale, Ghana. He lives and works in Accra, Kumasi, and Tamale. His work has appeared in numerous international exhibitions including NIRIN, 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020); tomorrow, there will be more of us, Stellenbosch Triennale (2020); Future Genealogies, Tales From The Equatorial Line, 6th Lubumbashi Biennale, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2019); Parliament of Ghosts, The Whitworth, University of Manchester (2019); Ghana Freedom, inaugural Ghana pavilion, 58th Venice Biennale, Venice (2019); Labour of Many, Norval Foundation, Cape Town (2019); Documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017); All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015); Artist’s Rooms, K21, Düsseldorf (2015); Material Effects, The Broad Art Museum, Michigan (2015); An Age of Our Own Making, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen and Holbæk (2016) and Fracture, Tel Aviv Art Museum, Israel (2016). In March 2019, Ibrahim Mahama opened the artist-run project space Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) in Tamale, Ghana, followed by the opening of Red Clay in nearby Janna Kpeŋŋ in September 2020. Comprising exhibition space, research facilities, and an artist-residency hub, both sites represent Mahama’s contribution towards the development and expansion of the contemporary art scene in his home country.
Ibrahim Mahama was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in connection with The World Around conference (https://theworldaround.com/) in New York City in January 2020.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by Klaus Elmer
Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2021
Supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond
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