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Ibrahim Mahama clothes London’s Barbican Centre with batakaris from Tamale


Ibrahim Mahama clothes London’s Barbican Centre with batakaris from Tamale

Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama has taken his creativity to the heart of the United Kingdom with a work of art crafted in Ghana.

In his latest artistic exhibition, Ibrahim Mahama draped the Barbican Centre in magenta fabric made from traditional Ghanaian robes, locally known as batakari.

Ibrahim Mahama’s latest creation, “Purple Hibiscus,” stretches across approximately 2,000 square meters and features intricate hand embroidery comprising over 130 batakaris.

These traditional robes, once worn by Ghanaian kings, hold cultural significance and are often treasured by families for generations.

Mahama partnered with skilled craftspeople from Tamale to weave and stitch the colossal panels by hand, showcasing a collaborative effort in the artwork’s meticulous construction.

Named after Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book from 2003, “Purple Hibiscus,” the parts of the artwork were collected through a process of exchange and barter from communities across Northern Ghana communities in Northern Ghana.

The pieces were so big that when no matches were happening, the artist rented the Tamale football stadium, where, the pieces were spread out on the ground, and hundreds of local women sewed them together.

Ibrahim’s work of art has since been attracting global attention, with reports from BBC and other international outlets.

Located within the Barbican Estate in the heart of the City of London, England, the Barbican Centre stands as the largest performing arts centre of its kind in Europe.

This iconic venue plays host to a diverse array of cultural experiences, including classical and contemporary music concerts, theatrical performances, film screenings, and captivating art exhibitions.

This new exhibition from Ibrahim Mahama makes a bold artistic statement of giving Ghanaian royals global recognition and appreciation. A feat that is not new to the Ghanaian artist.


In 2023, the renowned Ghanaian artist bought some of the country’s old trains to add to his Red Clay Studios in the Northern Region.

He is globally noted for turning waste materials, including sacks, and old sewing machines among other things into priceless artworks.

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