The Lost Art of the Ghana Movie Poster

While the Hollywood movie industry is famous for spending literal fortunes on their film fare and its subsequent promotion, not everyone has the means to promote movies with such gross excess: enter the lost art of the Ghana movie poster. During the boom of the video cassette in the 1980s, small-scale mobile theaters popped up around the sub-saharan country, providing entertainment as they passed through towns and villages. The showings often took place in social clubs, houses or outside in the warm night air, and sometimes only consisted of chairs, a generator, VCR and a television. To promote these shows artists were employed to create large, colorful posters and given full creative license to attract the viewing public… often with very entertaining, but less than accurate results.

Each of the highly unique and imaginative one-off pieces was created on a large canvas, sometimes employing used flour sacks for the purpose. Artists used oil paints for flexibility and rolled the final result for easy transport to the next show.

Today, with much easier access to VHS, DVD and the internet, the mobile cinema has largely died out in the country, and with it the colorful posters that advertised the events. The few outfits that continue the practice do so with much less interesting photocopied images announcing the show. If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of the original, age worn posters from the bygone era, you can find them here or see more examples on Flickr.


Benjamin Starr

Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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  1. Benjamin, each of your posts is one of a kind in the world! The Ghana Poster Collection . . . where the heck do you get such wonderful images?
    mickey morgan

  2. Benjamin Starrsays:

    Thanks Mickey, that means a lot! You’ll find a lot more poster images from Ghana here.

  3. carlsays:

    were do i find an artist like that? would like to have a cover like that for my band.

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