Ghana: VCR Theater Posters from the 1980s.

Mirroring the VCR days in India, the first VCRs reached Ghana in the 1980s to give rise to a rental structure and exhibition of video cassette movies, particularly in the urban centers of Accra and Kumasi. Quite like India again, a host of fixed and mobile VCR movie theaters rolled into business. Itinerant VCR businessmen would travel the country hooking up TVs and VCRs to portable generators even, in case of non availability of power, to create impromptu theaters of entertainment. A table and a couple of chairs were good enough. These VCR movie screenings were promoted via a large variety of colorful and exaggerated hand drawn and hand painted posters by self taught artists who often used discarded flour sacks as the canvas. In the idiom of popular street art, these posters exude a charming lack of sophistication, and therefore, is typically in opposition to high brow gallery art. This liberty of interpreting American and Hong Kong movies in a single frame for promotional purposes on the streets of sub-Saharan Africa, had given voice to a rather unique visual idiom – marked by childlike exaggerations, disregard for fidelity to content, emphasis on shock and gore, and a wicked touch of humor. Take a look.

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