By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
A display of movie posters and hair salon sign boards from the collection of Ghanaian academic Dr. Joseph Oduro-Frimpong that comprise fantastical images and diverse hair styles is underway at the Nubuke Foundation in Accra.
Designed and painted with the principal aim of grabbing attention of the public in order to ensure high ticket sales, the images equally showcase hand to hand combats, blood, guts, muscle and muscle mass, some of which are grossly exaggerated.
Interspersed with the supernatural alongside super heroes, female warriors and heroines, the posters also depict dreadful and lurid scenes as well as tensions between Christianity and practitioners of traditional religion.
Undeniably, some of these posters have been marshalled for imaginative interpretations of specific scenes from films – and they reveal stunning colour amalgamations – as well as eye-popping adaptations of embellished body physiques and popped out veins.
Largely comprising films from China, Ghana and the United States, these posters have without doubt become increasingly sought-after by art collectors owing to their paucity, painting techniques and their historical significance.
Encompassing works by Alpha and Omega, Awal Shetty, Billy, C.A Wisely, D.A Jasper, Faith Art, Leonardo Arts and O.A. Heavy-J, the posters, which are noted for infusion of local imagery became popular and easily accessible following the onset of the digital revolution.
Often painted in glowing commercial paint on plywood, hair cut / hair dressing salon sign boards on display are repetitively colorful and amusing while reflecting traditional and contemporary haircuts and braiding.
While identifying businesses as well as advertising them, these boards have become mobile in recent years as young men and women roam the streets of Accra and other Ghanaian cities looking for clients.
Educated in Ghana and the United States, stand-up comic pedagogy informs the teaching of Dr. Oduro-Frimpong, who is the director of the Centre for Popular Culture at the Ashesi University in Ghana.
It entails having a relaxed but serious classroom setting, where the use of seemingly mundane experiences to underscore class discussions, illuminate theoretical concepts and connect with key issues are vital.
Titled “Suɔmɔ Hi Fe Shika“, a Ga phrase that translates as “Love is Better than Money“, the exhibition ends on Sunday April 17, 2021.