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40 Under 40 Africa

Ibrahim Mahama

28 September 2020

Artist and founder of the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art, Tamale 

In 2019, the Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama founded the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art in Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana. Conceived as a studio space for artists, it has since expanded to become a hub for research and local engagement, with a programme of artists’ residencies and exhibitions spanning SCCA and its sister institution, the nearby Red Clay, where Mahama himself has a studio. Central to the mission of SCCA is the development and expansion of the Ghanaian art scene. Last year, the centre staged a retrospective dedicated to the Ghanaian modernist and self-described ‘Afro-Journalist’ Kofi Dawson; currently on view is a survey of work by the artist and dramatist Agyeman Ossei, ‘Dota’. SCCA is affiliated with blaxTARLINES KUMASI, an experimental art institution based at Mahama’s alma mater, the department of painting and sculpture at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city.

As an artist, Mahama has received worldwide acclaim for his large-scale installations crafted from jute sacks and other urban debris. He has exhibited his work widely, with solo shows at institutions including the Whitworth in Manchester, the Norval Foundation in Cape Town, and Fondazione Giuliani in Rome (all 2019). Most recently he was featured in the inaugural edition of the Stellenbosch Triennale, which opened this February. He was among the artists selected for the Apollo 40 under 40 Global in 2017.

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