Selected works by Ibrahim Mahama

Ibrahim Mahama
Untitled

2014

Coal sacks

183 x 213 cm
Ibrahim Mahama
Untitled

2014

Coal sack

183 x 213 cm
Ibrahim Mahama
Untitled

2014

Coal sack

183 x 213 cm
Ibrahim Mahama
Untitled

2014

Coal sack

183 x 213 cm
Ibrahim Mahama
Untitled

2014

Coal sack

183 x 213 cm
Ibrahim Mahama
Untitled

2013

Draped jute sacks wall installation

Dimensions variable

Public art’s main virtue is to exist beyond the imposed hierarchies of museum and galleries. Out in the open the works, orphans of preconceptions, confront an unacquainted public, perhaps igniting a sense of wonder.
Ibrahim Mahama’s spectacular installations of sewn coal sacks are the result of his investigation of the conditions of supply and demand in African markets. The final product – the art – is equally displayed in market places thus defying the artifacts’ intrinsic value system.

Ibrahim Mahama
Untitled

2013

Kawokudi installation with wax print panels

Dimensions variable

Mahama produces the large draping surfaces by carefully assembling sacks imported by the Ghana Cocoa Board and repurposed by charcoal sellers. The sacks present patches, markings and traces of traders’ names and locations on their rough brown skin, which map out the many transits they endure as vessels of commodities. The artist occasionally decorates them with the insertion of mass-produced Chinese–African print patchwork adding yet another layer of interpretation of the global movement of goods. The fact that fabric constitutes a marker of identity as well as a sign of particular occasions in the African context turns these insertions into a kind of portraiture of the wearers.
Wrapped around heaps of merchandise in the market place or embracing the contours of a museum building, the spreads of jute fibres become an oversized socio political inquiry of the origin of materials, referencing what is normally hidden for the sake of concept or form. Ibrahim Mahama denudes the transits and ownerships of jute sacks along their lives as porters of goods, rendering visible the mechanisms of trade which define the world’s economy.

Text © Gabriela Salgado


Articles

IBRAHIM INTERROGATES PROCESS, SPACE AND COAL SACKS
January 2013, Framework5

On an apparently ordinary Monday in the black-sooted Malata Market of Accra, Ghana, kayaayoo sellers balance fabrics and fruits on their head, while stacks of coal rest by a metal shed. At right, a large spread of sacks stitched together covers a row of coal piles. Anyone familiar with the market would instantly recognize a disruption.

A patchwork of sacks has been stretched over the everyday coal piles by a young man dressed in Afro-print shorts, followed by two assistants and a cameraman. The installation is part of a project by the artist Ibrahim, the man in Afro-print, carried out on the last day of 2012, Dec. 31.
Ibrahim uses the coal sacks as a device to explore process, material, value, and meaning. Torn, patched, stamped with “PRODUCT OF GHANA,” and written over with owners’ names, the bags are variously marred, marked, and transformed. Ibrahim traces their passage from India to the Ghana Cocoa Boards, to the cocoa warehouses and out to the harbors, to their transformation into coal sacks used by the sisala (coal burners), and finally to the coal-sellers themselves.

Source: framework5.wordpress.com


JUTE SACKS GO ON ARTISTIC EXHIBITION IN KUMASI
February 2013, by Kofi Adu Domfeh, Total Showbiz

26 year old Ibrahim Mahama is of a new generation of artists that is redefining what art can be, how it is exhibited and how it interrogates our relationships with ourselves and our surroundings.
Whether kente, adinkra, or wax print, cloth has long been a semiotic, value-transferring art form in Ghana.
West African born, internationally acclaimed artists, like El Anatsui and Yinka Shonibare have carried on and reinvented this tradition by using bottle tops to take on the form of Kente or wax print to usurp Western historical and aesthetic narratives.
Ibrahim goes a step further by incorporating the provenance, narrative and context of the cloths in his work.
He creates out of a commonplace material. Jute sacks imported by the Ghana Cocoa Board and repurposed by charcoal sellers are again repurposed by the artist, and exhibited in the very places they are sold.
His epic installations move out onto the streets, into marketplaces, under abandoned railway bridges, rendering what is unseen – layers upon layers of rubbish, degradation normalised and neglected by inhabitants and their government – visible.
In his most ambitious work to date, Ibrahim covers the KNUST Museum, both inside and out, in jute cloth to give more obvious form to questions, such as – Is this Art? Who is the Artist? Is this the place for it? What is the relevance of the museum model? And what does it all mean anyway?
Ibrahim describes art as an inherent complex phenomenon and for him getting confused as a cursory onlooker is another way of contributing to the creative work “because you are causing them to think much more deeply about things that they wouldn’t have felt deeply about”.
The exhibition is staged in collaboration with the cultural research platform ANO, which hopes to provide a context for his work through writing, curation, discussion and an upcoming film.

Source: totalshowbiz.com