Ibrahim Mahama’s installation 'A Grain of Wheat' assembles upright original first aid stretchers, many dating from the Second World War, collected from a site near to a Refugee Camp in Athens. Found elements like maps collected from Ghana are collaged within the canvas of the stretchers referencing intersecting histories of human mobility, labour and suffering. Aromatic smoked fish papers sourced from West African smokehouses conjure visceral reactions. Materials carry the residues of past actions, holding and bearing the physical markers, smells and traces of the interconnected networks and industries they previously moved through, and the human lives touched and effected. The work forms a kind of sensory archive of life, labour, and loss.


  • Title: A Grain of Wheat
  • Creator: Ibrahim Mahama
  • Date Created: 2015/2018
  • Location Created: Artspace, Sydney
  • Physical Dimensions: dimensions variable
  • Provenance: Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Andrew Cameron AM and Cathy Cameron; Anonymous; and assistance from White Cube. Courtesy the artist and White Cube, London / Hong Kong.
  • Type: installation
  • Rights: Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: mixed media
  • Edition: 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020): NIRIN

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