Movie theater and hand-painted movie posters in Ghana

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Movie theater and hand-painted movie posters in Ghana are a cultural component of the West African state.


Cinemas and the film posters required to advertise the screenings appeared among the Ga in southern Ghana in the 1980s . With the invention and spread of video recorders , the first small cinemas that were often mobile emerged here. Cinema operators in the Greater Accra area traveled from village to village with a selection of video cassettes , a television , a VCR and a generator for their performances. In order to draw attention to their ideas, they took with them film posters that were painted on canvas to match their films , which were made available to them by the film distributors.

Sign painter

At that time, the distributors commissioned the sign painters who are still active today with the stage names Heavy Jeaurs, Daniel Anum Jasper, Kwesi Blue, Salvation or Dallas to paint a suitable poster for each film. The artists watched the films that were mostly shot in Ghana or Nigeria and then developed a poster. These posters had to be sturdy, inexpensive to manufacture and light in weight so that cinema operators could take them with them. That is why the artists used a cheap, but very hard-wearing and light painting base made of linen , which they obtained from unwashed flour sacks. Her acrylic paints adhered particularly well to it and the posters could be hung outdoors even when it rained. With their bright colors and iconography adapted to the Ghanaian audience, these paintings quickly attracted a lot of attention and were much more likely to attract people to the cinema than the paper posters mostly printed in Nigeria.

Newer development

Since the Ghanaians have been able to buy or rent their films on DVD , they have preferred to watch them at home. As a result, most movie theaters have had to close in recent years. The still existing cinemas mostly only use posters from Nigeria that are printed on paper instead of hand-painted ones . In the Greater Accra region, it is therefore very rare to see movie posters painted on canvas hanging in front of a cinema. The artists turned to other works or painted the street signs that are still very popular in Ghana. Among the Ga in the Accra region, various sign painters also support artists such as Paa Joe or Kudjoe Affutu in painting their figurative coffins . Some of these sign painters, such as Heavy Jeaurs, Moses, Wonder, Jasper, Farkira or Leonardo also work for the international art market, where the Ghanaian film posters, as well as the figurative coffins in museums and galleries, are gaining increasing attention.

Ghanaian film posters in exhibitions

  • 2018 3rd Africa Film Days, Wuppertal, Germany.
  • 2012/13. Hors-champs , Musée d'Ethnographie de Neuchâtel (MEN), Switzerland.
  • 2013. Les Hors-champs de l'affiche , Musée d'Ethnographie de Neuchâtel (MEN), Switzerland.
  • 2011. Film posters from Ghana , Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.
  • 2011/12. Miracles of Africa , Hämeenlinna Art Museum, Hämeenlinna and Oulu Museum of Art, Oma, Finland.
  • 2005. Killers op canvas , Affichemuseum Horn, Netherlands.


  • Regula Tschumi : Hors-champs: genèse de l'affiche de l'exposition in: Gonseth Marc-Olivier u. a. (Ed.), Hors-champs. Eclats du patrimoine culturel immatériel. 2013, Musée d'Ethnographie Neuchâtel MNM, Neuchâtel: Atelier PréTexte, 216–227.
  • Gilbert Michelle: Shocking Images: Ghanian Painted Posters , in: Musée Dapper (Ed.), 2003, Ghana Yesterday and Today. Paris: Editions Dapper, pp. 353–379.
  • Wendl Tobias: Try me! Advertising and visual culture in Africa , in: WENDL Tobias, 2002, ed. African advertising art. Wuppertal: Peter Hammer, pp. 12-27.
  • Wolfe, Ernie, Clive Barker (eds.): Extrem canvas: hand-painted movie posters from Ghana , 2000, Los Angeles: Dilettante Press / Kesho Press.

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