Hand-painted movie banners are created as advertisements posted outside Ghanaian video stores. They reflect the global culture of movie distribution, advertising films ranging from Hong Kong kung-fu titles such as Operation Scorpio and Nigerian productions such as My Father’s Love 2 to the Hollywood-produced Species. While an array of foreign movies — particularly from the Chinese, Indian and US film industries — are consumed by local audiences in video format, Ghanaian and Nigerian productions shot on video have increasingly been distributed through networks of video shops and clubs since the 1980s. The local video industry now also exports titles to other African nations, including Benin, Togo, Zambia and South Africa.
Inscriptions on the banners included in the ‘21st Century’ exhibition indicate that most were made for ‘Name Video’, a shop in the Nungua market in a suburb of Ghana’s capital city, Accra. Each banner is executed on a recycled flour sack with the Irani Brothers & Others Ltd logo (a major flour producer based in Accra) clearly visible on the reverse. The banners are painted in a graphic illustrative style that cites the photographic montages routinely produced for big-budget mainstream films