June 4, 2023


Art Is Experience

What is The Ghanian Film Poster?

Bootleg Movie Posters from Ghana » TwistedSifter

The Ghanian film poster is a hand-painted film poster in Ghana used to promote films produced in Ghana and the world cinema. These hand-painted film posters became popular between the 1980s and the 1990s. In addition, it influenced how films were advertised while becoming known for their imaginative artistry. Ghanaian film posters are somehow all over the internet. The best products and services companies like PosterBurner advertise and print various poster designs from pictures or copies of other film posters to ship worldwide.

The History of Ghanian Film Poster

Local film distributors first hand-painted film posters in collaboration with commissioned artists in the early 1980s to create unique posters for film advertisement at markets and sidewalks from recycled flour sacks. Thanks to video recorders’ invention, Greater Accra started to develop a few small cinemas in Ghana. In addition, the arrival of digital print technology in 2000 created a forever change for the Ghanian poster tradition. Furthermore, contemporary posters arrived in 2001, and the mobile cinema business changed to accommodate local audiences so they could watch at home. However, many Ghanian film poster artists continued hand-painting film posters no longer for the Ghanian cinemas but rather the international art market.

Stylistic Influences of Ghanian Film Poster

The origins of the Ghanian film poster developed with stylistic influences of film and inspired posters mostly made in Ghana or Nigeria. In addition, the mobile cinema film posters had to be cheap to produce and lightweight to distribute. Therefore, film poster artists used durable cotton canvas from the underly of recycled Ghanian flour sacks. The fabric works well with acrylic and oil paints so that the film posters can hang outside without damage from the rain. 

Ghanaians used two styles to paint film posters; the Kumasi style and the Coastal style. The Kumasi style used an airbrush and painted to emphasize macro-sized details. On the other hand, the Coastal style highlights detailed background images with rippling musculature and explosions. Moreover, the iconography of bright colors on the film posters attracts people and influences them to go to the cinemas more than usually printed posters. 

The Impact of Ghanian Film Poster on Ghanian Society

The Ghanian film poster impacted the Ghanian society that changed their mindset about cinemas entirely. These film posters were two-meter-high, gruesome, and lurid posters to help increase the effect of a film’s theme. In addition, Ghanian film posters would command attention from people to entice them to watch movies screened by mobile video clubs and put projectors on trucks with diesel generators for communities that do not have access to cinemas to watch the latest films.

Why Were Old Movie Posters Painted?

With limited resources on hand, Ghanian artists had to use anything to create these famous Ghanian film posters. Accordingly, the Ghanian tradition of mural sign painting started the film poster trend, which ultimately allowed entrepreneurial showmen to promote their screenings because printing presses were rare to find and extremely expensive. Furthermore, artists could not paint on paper because it was not durable for transportation. Regarding its artistic features, the Ghanian film posters consisted of cracked paint on the cotton cloth to escalate its canvas with the utilitarian charm of frayed edges and the patina of medieval icons. Moreover, printed film posters lacked the small details of the characters’ actions on the posters, where painted posters took over and developed an enlivened and animated image.