The Pino Pascali Foundation is pleased to announce that the Pino Pascali Prize 2021 - 23rd edition has been awarded to Ibrahim Mahama (Tamale, Ghana 1987). The exhibition opens on 11 December 2021 at 6 pm and continues until 13 March 2022.
The Award Commission, chaired by Rosalba Branà director of the Pino Pascali Foundation, Adrienne Drake, director of the Giuliani Foundation for Contemporary Art in Rome, and Nicola Zito, art historian and curator of the Pino Pascali Foundation, thus motivated the choice :
"Ibrahim Mahama, a young Ghanaian artist who has been a protagonist on the international scene for several years, reflects on the human condition, on nomadism, on migration, on the exploitation of mankind. An artist with a strong political connotation, Mahama contaminates the languages of art, from the site-specific environmental installation to photography and object assembly, with the aim of leading the viewer to reflect on what are the failures of modernity ".
The event will take place in parallel at Exchiesetta, an iconic space in the city center of Polignano a Mare that hosted the first editions of the Pino Pascali Prize in the years from 1969 to 1979, where a work from the exhibition visible 24 hours a day will be exhibited.
Mahama was born in Tamale in 1987, the regional capital of northern Ghana, with half a million inhabitants where he currently lives and works. On 10 December he will be awarded the Prince Claus Award 2020 in Amsterdam, an award that rewards those who have distinguished themselves most in the application of culture to social development.
In his artistic practice he assumes the jute sack, a recurring object in his works, as a symbol and metaphor of a fragile economy, based on the production of cocoa: stamped, torn, patched up, it becomes for Mahama an amplifier of stories, telling of the people who they worked there, between ports, warehouses, markets and cities.
The sack becomes a stratification of memories, people, objects, places and architectures, the reference leads to the problems of the African continent, its migratory processes, to the complex dynamics of globalization. Manufactured in Southeast Asia, the bags are imported from Ghana Cocoa Boards to transport cocoa beans, which are considered luxury products. After this first use, the bags are re-packed many more times to transport products such as rice, millet, corn and coal. Mahama buys them at the end of their career, sewing them together to create huge tapestries that he also uses to hide monumental and iconic buildings of the consumer society, as in some well-known recent installations, also in Italy.
“I'm interested”, explains Mahama, “to look at the artistic and political implications of these materials. What happens when he collects different objects from places with specific stories and memories and put them together to form a new object? I am interested in how crisis and failure are absorbed into this material with a strong reference to the global transaction and the way capitalist structures work. (…) The hope is that their residues - stained, broken and abandoned, but bearers of light - can lead us to new possibilities and spaces beyond ".
The exhibition avails itself of the collaboration of APALAZZO Gallery of Brescia, which represents the artist in Italy.