The art of Ghanian film posters

The morbid and the remarkable paintings from Ghana promote Hollywood and Nollywood films. Sleepy dramas, action hero flicks and thrillers all get the same eye-catching artistic poster treatment.

I came across these film posters a while back, but I just had to share these. A few of the images below are from the exhibition African Gaze, a showcase of nearly 100 film posters all deriving from the country that hugs the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana. Most of the pieces were from the Collection of Karun Thakar & the late Mark Shivas. For the uninitiated, Mark Shivas was a film and tv producer. Over his career, he produced for BBC and Channel 4 but tragically passed away from cancer in 2008.

The Brunei Gallery at the University of London put together this show in early 2019:

The late 1980s in Ghana saw the emergence of exuberant new visual modes of expression in a new local and innovative film industry (alongside that of Nigeria commonly referred to as Nollywood), especially in the ways films were promoted by vivid hand painted posters on sack or canvass.

Highly skilled artists emerged to create striking images with their surfaces co-ordinated in eye catching colour arrangements to command the attention of passers-by. These film posters were commissioned by mobile local entrepreneurs taking the films to a range of communities and using the cloth posters that could be rolled up, unfurled and transported very easily as they criss-crossed the country. The intense competition between films enhanced the creativity and imaginative possibilities realised by the artists in the film posters and established their individual renown.

I don’t recall seeing any Sai in The Matrix, but this is awesome.

The Ghanian film posters are such a phenomenon, that even Conan got in on the fun:

The artist, Daniel Anum Jasper, is seriously talented, and gracious. I would recommend giving him a follow on his Instagram account, @dajasperart. He is incredible, and continues to produce film posters very much in the spirit of his predecessors. You can see more of the film posters at this story from the BBC, here.

You can find a few more of these Ghanian film posters at the Deadly Prey Gallery in Chicago. They sell reproductions and originals (apparently) on at their shop.

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