These posters were once the product of a much larger industry known as the “Ghanaian Mobile Cinema”. This business started in the late 1980’s when artistic industrious groups of people formed video clubs. With a television, vcr, vhs tapes, and a portable generator they’d travel throughout Ghana setting up make-shift screening areas in villages void of electricity. An interesting selection of movies became popular because of this trade includeing both Hollywood action and horror, low budget American schlock, Bollywood films, Hong Kong martial arts movies, and native Ghanaian and Nigerian features.
As more people gained interest in this rising business, competition arose. Mobile cinema operators found a need to set their products apart, so an advertising motif came into play. With no affordable access to printing, the hand-painted movie poster was the most logical advertising vehicle. Skilled local artists were now part of this growing entertainment industry in Ghana, and they surely brought their own distinct touch to each film they were called upon to promote. By sewing together two used flour sacks, a perfect sized canvas for a movie poster was created. Each unique poster varies in size ranging from 40 – 50 in. width x 55-70 in. height. The ruggedness of these posters is immediately noticed. Though a specific poster might only be 10-20 years old, it’s appearance will far surpass it’s actual age due to the elemental toll one takes from constant transit, being rolled, folded, left in the sun, rain, etc.
Today access to printing is far less expensive and movies have become more accessible to the general public in Ghana. The mobile cinema has all but passed away, but these hand-painted movie posters remain a wonderful, tangible product of the time.