It's a Questions of Power, Isn't It?

Ibrahim Mahama

Parliament of Ghosts
Residues from the Gold Coast railways and the Ghana Railways Corporation and other relevant archives of the post-independence era of Ghana comprise this installation. It is inspired by the structural qualities of the post-independent era in Ghana, namely the brutalist now abandoned silos found throughout the country. Artist Ibrahim Mahama is interested in the potential within historical failures to renew ideological values and expand imaginations among current and emerging generations of Ghanaians. The work fosters dialogue between temporalities, materials and decay, connecting old, abandoned spaces and new ecologies, rotting material with new life, echoing the country’s inherited post-independence crises.

The work also has a performative dimension. Since its inception it has been used in many debates and talks and installed centre stage at various art institutions. Within it questions are raised concerning the difference between – and political implications of – staging a work and building a stage as a work of art; or, how the past can time travel to the present to heal it, an idea that strongly resonates with this instalment of sonsbeek.

The work was originally conceived for the Whitworth Art Gallery as part of the Manchester International Festival in 2019.

Ibrahim Mahama (1987, Ghana) is an artist who lives and works between Accra, Kumasi and Tamale, Ghana. Failure and delay of specific forms always inform his choice of sites that his works both occupy and are occupied by. Residues and points of chaos registered as marks within the forms he selects, offer alternative perspectives of looking into the materials and labour conditions of society, while politics of the hand and its parallel relation to architectural forms become ever more evident. His work is a straight line through the carcass of history, and has also dealt with forms related to World War II and bacterial life. Mahama was a guest of the 2018 DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program. In March 2019, he opened SCCA Tamale – an artist-run space dedicated to retrospectives of twentieth-century art practices.

This work is presented in collaboration with Museum Arnhem.

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