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.


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