I became aware of the existence of these amazing handpainted Ghanaian movie posters, after seeing them collected in a fanzine in Gosh Comics, Soho.
The backstory goes that with the emergence of VHS in Ghana in the late eighties, entrepreneurs would purchase a copy of a Hollywood action movie or the latest Bollywood release or a Hong Kong martial arts movie, and armed with a diesel generator and a video player would tour around villages, many lacking electricity, and show the film for money in pop-up cinemas.
They needed to advertise these features and a paper poster wouldn’t survive being used multiple times, so they would commission artists to paint posters for the films onto sewn together flour sacks.
Despite these mobile cinemas being a thing of the past, the internet has popularised these posters, with many of them becoming collectors items. Multiple gallery exhibitions of these works have been shown in the UK and US and some of the original artists are now making a living, creating new versions of their works to sell worldwide.
My personal favourites are the posters that blatantly miss-sell the movie they are promoting – I’m talking to you Ghostdog, Mrs Doubtfire, Wild at Heart and most spectacularly ET! Anyone remember Michael Jackson and Alien Facehuggers appearing in that Spielberg classic?
I also love some of the weirder inclusions, like a tiny Sam Neill nestling on Jeff Goldblum’s bare chest in the poster for Jurassic Park. 🙂
Anyone wanted their own copy of a piece of Ghanaian history should check out Deadly Prey Gallery.