Inspiration #2: SCCA, Red Clay, Ibrahim Mahama & Azu Nwagbogu

“Mahama balks at Western ideas around conservation, viewing them as undermining of artistic progress in Africa; rather, he sees the function of institutions in terms of their being drivers of progress and mechanisms through which to engineer the refreshing of ideas.” Azu Nzwagbogu in ArtReview magazine 🖋️

 

Ibrahim Mahama (b. 1987) is a Ghanaian artist and the founder of Savannah Centre for Contemporary Arts (SCCA) and Red Clay Studio. Known for his installations reflecting on the theme of globalization labor and the movement of goods, his works are often made in collaboration with local communities.

 

The SCCA and Red Clay Studio not only serve as cultural spaces but also aim to transform the contemporary art scene in Ghana by providing opportunities for locals to experience art, creating spaces for artists to work and showcase their creations, and fostering critical discourse through diverse activities.

 

The Savannah Centre for Contemporary Arts (SCCA) is a cultural initiative founded by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama. Located in Tamale, Ghana, SCCA is dedicated to transforming the contemporary art scene in the region. The center serves as a dynamic cultural space that offers opportunities for local communities to experience art in various forms. SCCA aims to create an inclusive environment where artists can work and showcase their creations, facilitating an exchange of ideas and fostering critical discourse. Through exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs, SCCA bridges communities and acknowledges the evolution of art in Ghana, thus making a significant social impact.

 

Red Clay Studio, also founded by Ibrahim Mahama, complements the mission of SCCA. This space is designed to be a creative hub for artists, providing facilities such as studios, workshops, and exhibition areas. Red Clay Studio is known for its unique architecture, which includes repurposed airplanes and other materials, reflecting Mahama’s interest in globalization, labor, and the movement of goods. The studio aims to nurture artistic talent and provide a platform for artists to experiment and innovate. By offering resources and a conducive environment for creativity, Red Clay Studio contributes to the vibrant art scene in Ghana and supports the development of contemporary art practices.

 

Ibrahim Mahama is a renowned Ghanaian artist known for his large-scale installations that often involve collaboration with local communities. His works reflect on themes of globalization, labor, and the movement of goods, using materials such as jute sacks, wooden structures, and other found objects. Mahama’s artistic practice is deeply rooted in the socio-economic contexts of Ghana and broader global issues. Through his art, he explores the history and politics of material culture, creating powerful visual narratives that challenge viewers to reconsider their perceptions of value and labor. Mahama’s initiatives, including the SCCA and Red Clay Studio, are an extension of his artistic vision, aiming to inspire and uplift the local art community while fostering international dialogue.

 

These initiatives launch a significant social impact by bridging communities, showcasing different generations of artists, and acknowledging the evolution of art in Ghana, ultimately bringing hope and connectivity.

 

#AFIELDinspiration: the unwritten histories of artists-led initiatives

 

Photo credit: Exhibition “Existing Otherwise The Future of Coexistence” at Red Clay Studio