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Ibrahim Mahama

Adum Train Station installation, 2013

drapery of coal sacks
About Ibrahim Mahama
Exploring themes of globalisation, economic exchange and migration, Ibrahim Mahama creates monumental installations made of materials defined by urban environments. The Ghanian artist is best known for his stitched together with jute bags, made with help of his collaborators who are usually intranational, local and urban immigrants, and echoing West African traditional use of fabrics. Mahama then drapes the stitched bags over buildings, thereby engaging with the politics of physical spaces by creating a continuous challenge and imposition. The jute bags, having been produced in Asia, imported to Ghana to transport cacao beans and then repurposed to package coffee, rice and charcoal, before finally being exported to Europe and the Americas, represent the very structure of the capitalist economy. Treating the materials as forensic evidence of market and human labour, Mahama traces the complex relationship between the economy and the local and international working class. The multifaceted physicality and metaphorical connotations of the artist’s materials, which also include hammers, shoe boxes, heels and needles, show how objects absorb and bear the ramifications of globalised capitalism and the social divide it produces.