Long live VHS

In the 1980s VHS technology made it possible for “mobile cinema” operators in Ghana to travel from town to town and village to village creating temporary cinemas. The touring film group would create a theatre by hooking up a TV and video onto a portable generator and playing the films for the people to see.

In order to promote the films in towns, artists were hired to paint large posters (usually on canvas flour sacks). The artists often had never seen the film in question and had total creative freedom to design and paint whatever they thought worked as promotional material. Often leading to more interesting concepts than the films themselves.

Sadly,  the “mobile cinema” began to decline in the mid-nineties due to television; and as a result the painted film posters were substituted for less interesting artwork produced by photocopying the original poster. Boo.

But now most of the posters are featured in the book Extreme Canvas: Movie Poster Paintings from Ghana . Yay.

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