Freedom, Art, and Production: Ibrahim Mahama

September 27, 2019 @ 3:00 pm
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building L150

Ibrahim Mahama is a contemporary artist based in Ghana, and founder of the Savanah Center for Contemporary Art in Tamale. He received the prestigious DAAD fellowship for visual arts in 2017-2018, and his work has been featured in various global platforms as the Venice Biennale in 2015, 2017, and 2019; Documenta in 2017; and the Norval Foundation in 2018. Mahama’s installation A Straight Line Through the Carcass of History (1918–1945. 2015–2018), is currently on view at the first Pavilion of Ghana at Venice Biennale this year, designed by David david adjaye and also including work by John Akomfrah, El Anatsui, and Lynette Yiadom.

Drawing from social practice, Ibrahim Ibrahim Mahama explores the poetics of labor and the spectral politics of global trade, as engraved in the failure, decay, rupture, and resilience of materials and structures. With the collaboration of an ever-expanding network of people, he has created large-scale public interventions sewing together worn jute sacks formerly used to extract commodities like cocoa and charcoal out of Ghana, as in Out of Bounds for the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), and Check Point for Documenta14 (2017). Occupying spaces and buildings across Europe and Africa not as mere canvases but as core elements of his artworks, he aims to dig into, and question, how defunct structures of power may continue to inform everyday practices, and set the ground for lasting social change.

In this presentation, Mahama will bring into discussion the work of the artist beyond the production of objects, and his projections for the Savanah Center for Contemporary Art he recently opened in his hometown in Ghana, Tamale.