On Hunger and Farming in the Skies of the Past, 1957-1966

By Ibrahim Mahama

Tamale Grain Silo by Ibrahim MahamaMayor of London

Art Meets Agriculture

Ibrahim Mahama’s sculpture recalls grain silos which were part-constructed in Ghana during the early 1960s by Eastern European architects but were abandoned after President Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown by the military in 1966. The various silos were abandoned at different stages of construction, so each has their own characteristics. 

On Hunger and Farming in the Skies of the Past 1957-1969 (2021) by Ibrahim MahamaMayor of London

Silo in Limbo

On Hunger and Farming in the Skies of the Past, 1957-1966 presents a silo from Tamale in the northern part of Ghana, his hometown. Unlike the other versions around the country, this one was abandoned at a much earlier stage in its construction and appears to be in limbo, waiting for another form of life to occupy it. The work also addresses gaps in Ghanaian history from around the time of the Cold War, while exploring the idea of things forgotten or discarded.

On Hunger and Farming in the Skies of the Past 1957-1967 (2021) by Ibrahim MahamaMayor of London

The piece is representative of Ibrahim’s signature style of working with found objects; this refers to creating art from undisguised but often modified items that are not normally considered materials from which art is made.

The Artist's Style

He is best known for his use of jute sacks - cloth bags once used to carry cocoa and which now carry coal. Each sack is inscribed with names, embellished with regional patterned fabrics and stitched together, creating large-scale installations resembling patchwork quilts which are installed in both art spaces and public markets. 

Ibrahim Mahama by Ibrahim MahamaMayor of London

About the Artist

Ibrahim was born in Tamale, Ghana in 1987 where he still lives and works (as well as in Accra and Kumasi). He holds both a BA and MA in painting and sculpture, respectively, from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.  

In 2019/2020, he was named the 73rd most influential African by The Africa Report in its list of 100 most influential Africans of that year. He is also an author. 

Interview with artist Ibrahim Mahama (2021) by Jared SchillerMayor of London

Credits: Story

L Rhoda Molife

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