Artist Ibrahim Mahama lives and works in Accra, Kumasi, and Tamale in Ghana. Mahama uses the transformation of materials to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalization, and economic exchange. He started his practice through his interest in the history of materials and architecture. Specific forms of failure and decay inform his choice of sites for his work. He believes the works do not only occupy the sites, but the sites are also occupied within the work. Residues and points of chaos register as marks within the forms he selects, and they present alternative perspectives of looking into the materials and labor conditions of society. His large-scale installations employ materials gathered from urban environments such as decayed jute sacks used to transport commodities. They are sewn together with a network of collaborators under specific labor conditions and then superimposed on architectural structures. The politics of the hand and its parallel relation with architectural forms become more evident when multiple objects come together and we examine the void between them.
Mahama’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale; the Future Generation Art Prize exhibition at the 57th Venice Biennale; Documenta 14, Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany; Orderly Disorderly, Accra, Ghana; Images 16: An Age of Our Own Making, Denmark; Valletta 18: the island is what the sea surrounds, Malta; and Spectacles Speculations, Kumasi, Ghana. He recently completed a yearlong residency with the DAAD Artists-in-Residence Program, Berlin.
Presented in partnership with SAIC's Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice as part of the ongoing project Re:Working Labor curated by Faculty Research Fellows Daniel Eisenberg and Ellen Rothenberg.
Presented in partnership with SAIC's Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice