One of the things that is quintessentially Ghanaian are hand-painted movie posters and signboards. The trade shot up during the 1980s when artists got folks in the doors of cinema houses through the skill of a paint brush and a far-out imagination. The posters promoted films from West Africa, the U.S., China and India. The films depicted many genres from romance, comedy to action, drama, and horror.
In Ghana, the poster art trade developed from early movie advertising in the 60s and 70s and also concert parties and village theater marketing dating back to the early 20th century. Essentially, the stories are twists and turns from folkore passed down in families and communities from generation to generation.
Supernatural encounters where humans interact with non-humans is a constant theme in these stories. Nowadays, religious fundamentalist messages and soft porn scenes dominate in Ghana’s most profitable movie industry, Kumawood (i.e. the Kumasi Hollywood).
Like the world’s most popular horror and action films, the Ghana movies and posters don’t spare the blood, guts and gore of life. Or the playful delight in dismembering the bodies and spirits of women. The dehumanization of women as evil snakes, witches or objects of social disharmony, smears your face.
The images grab you by playing out your worst fears note by note. You have to look away but then back again for a peek to study the detail of this colorful portrait. You are intrigued. Yet repulsed.
In many ways, it’s a stroll through a garden of exaggerated, tired rituals.
But we dey laugh sef. Shit, it’s funny.
All photos retrieved from Google Images.