Dream Time: We All Have Stories curated by Karen AlexanderRadical Histories, 2012–2018
Ibrahim Mahama - Accra, Ghana
Using an epic patchwork of jute fabric to shroud the front-facing roof edge of Toronto City Hall, Ibrahim Mahama’s spectacular sewn installation draws attention to the conditions of supply and demand in African markets, acknowledging the role that jute sacks play in the international movement of goods.
Working with vendors in Ghanaian markets, the artist trades new bags for old, incorporating the histories accumulated when they are used to package cocoa, coffee and charcoal for export to the Americas and Europe. Mahama’s local collaborators in the transformation process are left to add their own messages, which carry with them personal histories and sit alongside the official stamp PRODUCT OF GHANA that still adorns many of the old sacks. In this way, the sacks materialize complex trade networks of a global economy and invisible labour.
For Mahama, the jute sacks have become a visual realization of stories and metaphors of social production, trade and inequality. “They tell of the hands that lifted them and the products they held as they were carried between ports, warehouses, markets and cities,” says the artist. “They tell of the condition of the people who are trapped by those places, and the places themselves.”
Ibrahim Mahama is a visual artist who works across mediums. In particular, he engages with the history of found objects, natural materials and molecular elements, which are carriers of time and intangible narratives. His temporary sculptural interventions prompt transnational dialogues that explore shared histories while also speaking about contemporary Africa. Mahama’s work has been shown globally, most recently in Brazil, Germany and Malta. He lives and works in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale in Ghana.
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City Hall - Nathan Phillips Square
100 Queen Street West
Suitable for all ages
This project is outdoors.