Ibrahim Mahama. TRANSFER(S)
On the occasion of Osnabrück’s anniversary celebration of 375 years since the Peace of Westphalia, the internationally renowned artist Ibrahim Mahama is dedicating himself to investigating the city’s history of linen trade in his new research and exhibition project dubbed TRANSFER(S). From July 9 to October 1, 2023, the Ghanaian artist will wrap the former Galeria Kaufhof building in Osnabrück’s city centre with a monumental tapestry of strip-woven textiles, locally collected smocks from Ghana, and his signature repurposed jute sacks.
The research and exhibition project explores a variety of historical and contemporary transfer circuits between Central Europe and West Africa. Thematically, it ties in with Osnabrück’s historical importance as one of the most important textile production regions in Westphalia, among others for linen fabric, which became known as “true born Osnaburghs” and dates back to the fourteenth century. This linen was also used as a means of exchange for captives from the coastal regions of Africa and to make clothing for the forced labourers working on the plantations of the West Indies.
The former Galeria Kaufhof building with its equally diverse history and future realignment is ideal for these debates. As early as 1955, the Merkur department store had opened there on the site of the Hotel Germania (known from E. M. Remarque’s novel The Black Obelisk), which had been destroyed during the war. Local city history, war and post-war experiences are thus placed in the context of global trade and power relations through Mahama’s intervention. The building is currently being converted by the Hamburg-based project developer Home United and, as of 2024, will house not only the cross-community space “Osnabrücker Ding” but also, among others, the departments of “Art/Art Education” and “Textile Design” of the University of Osnabrück.
In addition to Mahama’s installation in Osnabrück, TRANSFER(S), also includes an accompanying public programme at the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) in Tamale (GH) this autumn. SCCA Tamale is one of three institutions Mahama has established in his hometown. This autumn, the SCCA Tamale will serve as a discursive hub where the historical-political strands of the research premises will be unravelled in a series of talks, seminars, exhibitions, performances and presentations. The multi-day events are designed to create further perspectives in exchange with academics, curators, historians, musicians and artists.
Curators: Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh and Bettina Klein
More Info : HERE