When Red Clay Studios in Tamale in the Northern part of Ghana was formally opened on September 5, 2020, a deluge people were there to view the wonderful building. As a matter of fact, several prominent personalities also paid a visit to this tourism spot in light of multiple factors.
It was the ideal opportunity for me to also go see what’s in there after a few years. On arriving there, it was worth the effort because of what I saw and the tremendous patronage by a multitude of individuals.
Red Clay is a complex of studios. These are multi-purpose spaces for exhibitions, meetings, art talks, film screenings, workshops, etc. There are also dedicated spaces for a library, and a cinema hall.
The site additionally houses some British colonial-era trains, acquired through Ghana’s Ministry of Railway Development and from scrap dealers, and six Soviet-era planes bought from private owners.
On a daily basis, people from within the country in addition to others from the Diaspora come here for a wonderful treat to numerous things. The studio which was financed by the internationally known Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama has extended the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art with the Red Clay studio.
With interest in architecture, urban materials, history and politics, Ibrahim Mahama is acclaimed for his large scale installations and performances around the world. He was even selected to represent his country at the Sydney and Venice Bienniale.
Caught between Accra, Kumasi and his old neighborhood Tamale, the artist and founder had consistently wanted to change the contemporary workmanship scene in Ghana by putting down fantastic creativities. So he established the SCCA, which is– The Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art, bringing a cultural space to the local people.
Substantially more than just a gallery, the SCCA is an artist-run project space, exhibition and research hub, cultural repository and artists’ residency. It gives opportunity to locals to experience art, a creation space to artists, showcases different generations and acknowledges the evolution of art in Ghana.
In 2020, which was in the Coronavirus pandemic, Ibrahim Mahama opened another space called: Red Clay Studios. This space was named after the consumed umber earth of northern Ghana. The tremendous complex now connects communities with convertible rooms inside and outside, allowing for screenings, meetings, workshops, and productions.
The point of this cultural establishment is to elevate minds by bringing a critical discourse through curation, publications and diverse activities. Red Clay also has a piece of art by Mr. Mahama himself: The Parliament of Ghosts; and it’s lovely!
Red Clay Studios is always opened to everyone, and I enjoyed the couple of hours spent in the Northern region of Ghana.