I also discovered a few years ago, during my work with artisans in Ghana, that the typical barbershop signs, made by these same artists, had become quite popular in some art circles in the USA and Europe.
I even bought my son one when we redecorated his room, but having grown up in Accra for the majority of his life, he didn’t appreciate the kitsch factor and thought it stupid to pluck a badly drawn painting of three guys with various geometric hair designs up on his wall… so the idea was scrapped… but I digress. These paintings can be found online, selling for between $200-$400 each!!
Today I learned another industry has embraced the art of our beloved Ghanaian roadside painters… the movie industry! Look out Hollywood – here comes vintage Ghanaian movie posters – advertising so much more than the original film intended… The history as explained in my source site:
“In the 1980s “mobile cinema” operators in Ghana traveled from town to town creating temporary cinemas by hooking up a TV and VCR onto a portable generator and playing the films for the public.
Artists were hired to paint large posters of the films for promotion, and were given the artistic freedom to paint the posters as they desired - often adding elements that weren’t in the actual films, or without even having seen the movies. The “mobile cinema” began to decline in the mid-nineties due to greater availability of television and video; as a result the painted film posters were substituted for less interesting/artistic posters produced on photocopied paper.”
On this great art appreciation blog, I found an article that explained the history of the posters, and when I looked further I found many sites that have been selling these unique bits of Ghanaian 80’s popular culture – again, averaging $200 each, despite their raggedy condition.
Here are a couple examples – I also found the ‘real’ movie posters for the films.. quite the artistic license I must say!!!
You gotta love the head in the field eating someone's amputated arm... oh, and the red bugs coming out of the lday's head. I just can't figure out why she's only in a bra?! And the main guy there looks like a bad cross between Beetlejuice and Freddie Kruger! :)
The real poster is just so dull in comparison!
With this one, it appears the artist may have seen the actual poster, but decided to localize it - Bond and his female companion have become browner.. but I can't make out what the huge red fish is for?!! Then there is the issue of tenses - the spy obviously still loves this girl!
I bet Bond never knew he was a black star in rural Ghana!