Ibrahim Mahama (B. 1987)
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Ibrahim Mahama (B. 1987)

Untitled

Details
Ibrahim Mahama (B. 1987)
Untitled
ink, found fabric collage, thread and banana tree leaf on six joined coal sacks
79 7/8 x 85in. (203 x 216cm.)
Executed in 2014
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2014.
Exhibited
London, Saatchi Gallery, Pangaea II: New Art From Africa And Latin America, 2015.
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Lot Essay

Ibrahim Mahama reuses found materials to critique unethical, controversial and concealed systems of trade, migration and globalisation. The present work is one of the Ghanaian artist’s jute sacks, used initially in the nineteenth century to transport cocoa beans, but now purposed as a domestic and labouring vessel for anything, particularly coal.

Fabricated in Southeast Asia, and with additional stitching executed by migrant women with no bureaucratic documentation, the work raises a number of issues relating to the treatment of socially displaced workers whilst clinging to an incessant propulsion of urban relocation. As the artist explained, ‘[the jute sacks] tell of the hands that lifted them and the products they held as they were carried between ports, warehouses, markets and cities. They tell of the condition of the people who are trapped by those places, and the places themselves’ (I. Mahama, quoted in ‘Ibrahim Mahama’s epic jute patchworks conquer Italy’, Abitare, http://www. abitare.it/en/events/2015/06/19/ibrahim-mahamas-epic-jute-patchworks-conquer-italy/?refresh_ce-cp [accessed 5 September 2017]).

Mahama’s sacks have been stitched together to form sweepingly colossal installations in Accra, Ghana and, perhaps most notably, at the Venice Biennale in 2015, when the artist created a patchworked corridor of jute sacks, 300 metres in length and weighing a staggering 3,000 kilograms. Such interventions compelled the visitor to engage with the crucial ethical concerns that the jute sack encapsulates as a signifier of inequality.

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