at home: Artists in Conversation | Ibrahim Mahama
April 29, 2022
Ibrahim Mahama, artist, in conversation with Karen Alexander, independent film and moving image curator, writer, and researcher
at home: Artists in Conversation
Join us for lively and inspiring conversations with some of today’s most notable artists. at home: Artists in Conversation brings together curators and artists to discuss various artistic practices and insights into their work.
About Ibrahim Mahama
Born in Tamale, Ghana, in 1987, Mahama is a painter and sculptor who uses the transformation of materials to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalization, and economic exchange. His installations and wall-based works consider the ways in which capital and labor are expressed in common materials. He received a BFA in painting in 2010 and an MFA in painting and sculpture in 2013 from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Often made in collaboration, Mahama creates large-scale installations with wood and metal remnants gathered from urban environments, or jute sacks that carried cocoa but now charcoal and are synonymous with Ghana’s trade. He is best known for draping buildings in the sacks that he and a team stitch together to create patchwork quilts. These immersive installations—in art spaces and public markets—draw attention to the global transportation of goods and provide critical reflection on the value system inherent in his materials.
In 2019, Mahama opened the artist-run project space Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art in Tamale, Ghana, followed by the opening of a vast studio complex, Red Clay. Encompassing exhibition space, research facilities, and an artist-residency hub, both sites represent Mahama’s contributions toward the development and expansion of the contemporary art scene in his home country. In April 2021, Mahama opened Nkrumah Volini, an abandoned food silo he transformed into a cultural center in Tamale.
Mahama’s work has appeared in numerous international exhibitions including NIRIN, the twenty-second Biennale of Sydney (2020); Tomorrow there will be more of us, Stellenbosch Triennale (2020); Future Genealogies, Tales From The Equatorial Line, the sixth Lubumbashi Biennale, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2019); Parliament of Ghosts, the Whitworth, University of Manchester (2019); Documenta 14, Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany (2017); Fracture, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2016); and All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015. His solo exhibitions include Lazarus at White Cube Bermondsey, London; Vanishing Points, 2014–2020, Reiter Galleries, Leipzig, Germany; 57 Forms of Liberty, the High Line, New York; and Labour of Many, Norval Foundation, Steenberg, Cape Town. He was the youngest artist featured in the Ghana Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. Mahama lives and works in Accra, Kumasi, and Tamale, Ghana.
This program is presented through the generosity of the Terry F. Green 1969 Fund for British Art and Culture.