Give local artists maximum attention — Ibrahim Mahama
This week, we put the spotlight on a visionary and enthusiastic young artist who combines art, technology, science with other disciplines to produce a perfect work for people to admire or appreciate.
The Spectator interacted with Ibrahim Mahama, an international artist who is making waves in the Ghanaian Art industry, at Tamale, to know more about his artistic talent.
Professionally, Ibrahim Mahama, doubles as a Ghanaian author and an artist.
This indefatigable young man, with an unstoppable love for art work is the founder of Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA), Tamale, Ghana.
Ibrahim Mahama is a Dagomba from Tamale, in the Northern Region with Mr. Ibrahim Sulemana Mahama, and Madam Fati Mohammed as his parents.
He was born at Tamale but lived most of his life in Accra and has 10 siblings.
As an artist, Mahama has endeared himself to many and received worldwide acknowledgement for his large-scale installations crafted from jute sacks and other materials.
He founded the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art at Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana, last year. The centre produces and shares knowledge through exhibitions, workshops, publications and allied activities.
Originally designed as a studio for artists, the core mission of SCCA is the development and expansion of the Ghanaian art industry.
He told The Spectator that, since its inception, it had quickly grown into a hub for research and local engagements.
It has a programme for artists’ residence and exhibitions at both SCCA and its sister institution known as “Red Clay”, where Mahama has his own studio.
“SCCA, since its inception in 2019, has dedicated its programmes to unravelling modernist and contemporary histories in Ghanaian Art beginning with its 20th century progenitors”, he said.
The international artist, has exhibited his works widely and gained global recognition for his artistry.
“In 2019 alone, I had solo shows at the Whitworth in Manchester, the Norval Foundation in Cape Town, and Fondazione Giuliani in Rome”, he recalled.
He reiterated that in February this year, he was featured in the inaugural edition of the Stellenbosch Triennale, in South Africa, a contemporary art exhibition featuring the finest art from Africa to the world.
Mahama has a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Sculpture and a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Painting from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Kumasi, Ghana.
He attended Pope John Senior High School and Minor Seminary at Koforidua in the Eastern Region and pursued Visual Arts.
The ‘never-say-never’ artist who never relents on his efforts by making SCCA and Red Clay a world-class art and tourist centre bemoaned how some stakeholders refused to collaborate with the centre.
He indicated that, “Art was part of human’s existence and must be given the maximum attention because art generates revenue and boosts the Gross Domestic Product of a nation.”
He appealed to Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of patronising their own, adding that both the SCCA and Red Clay had more fascinating works by renowned artists to offer Ghanaians.
Ibrahim Mahama asked government to give support to children and students offering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programmes in order to enable them to pursue their courses without any difficulty.
Ibrahim Mahama who speaks English, Dagbani and Twi fluently, commended his team for their dedicated and selfless services.
He loves reading and watching movies and preferred fufu with goat soap.
By Alfred Nii Arday Ankrah