Monday, May 23, 2011

Ghanaian Movie Posters

I'm contemplating a road trip to Chicago this summer to see this exhibit.

During the late 1980s a cottage industry developed in Ghana, West Africa, composed of young entrepreneurs who possessed three pieces of property – a TV, a videocassette recorder (VCR), and a portable, gas-powered generator. Armed with these tools, desire and ambition, they set up ramshackle theaters known as “video clubs,” showing movies on the VCR and charging admission. Sometimes, they would even take the show on the road and move from village to village. Yet, stationary or mobile, the common denominator was delighted and noisy audiences, who sat scattered on benches, chairs
and the ground itself.
In order to attract customers and sell tickets, club operators commissioned posters, which were painted on opened-up flour sacks. Yet, it is the imagery, not the canvas, which always succeeds in drawing the viewer into an imaginary, surreal world. As art and advertising, they are wildly successful, and it is the combination of the two which makes these posters so unforgettable.
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