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Museum Exhibition

Ibrahim Mahama’s jute paintings on view in ‘Afro-Atlantic Histories’ at National Gallery of Art, Washington


10 April - 17 July 2022

Ibrahim Mahama contributes a prime example of his jute sack work to ‘Afro-Atlantic Histories’, a travelling exhibition of over 130 works exploring histories of cultural innovation, migration and labour between Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe. Encompassing a multiplicity of experiences, the exhibition, previously at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, maps a geography without precise borders, exploring narratives – personal, political, economic and mythological – from the 17th century to the present.

In AKOSUA SOM BI. 2014 (2019), jute sacks, previously used for transporting cocoa beans, are layered with materials in a state of parallel transformation. Originally imported from Southeast Asia by the Ghana Cocoa Board, the sacks have been stamped as products of Ghana and affixed with metal tags, which served to economically authenticate the beans. Layered onto smock textile and threaded together, the sacks also bear aspects of domestic daily life. Mahama intentionally refers to the jute and cloth works as ‘paintings’, noting that ‘within the larger interventions are moments of detail [of which these] paintings act as extracts.’

The exhibition will travel to Los Angeles County Museum of Art in December 2022.

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