Ibrahim Mahama Converts Old Aircrafts into a Learning Community
Born in Tamale, Ghana in 1987, Ibrahim Mahama has risen about all odds charting a great path for himself in the world of arts. What is special about him is his ability to convert trashed items into beautiful and useful artifacts.
He collects the trash and transforms it into something beautiful. Jute sacks, shoeshine boxes, sewing machines, records, pictures, smoked fish grills, and even vintage planes are some of his works on the world market.
Ibrahim Mahama was named to The Africa Report’s list of the 100 most important Africans in 2019. The most intriguing aspect of Mahama’s story is that one of his works of art was sold for a whopping $1 million.
In 2021, Mahama used the $1 million generated to buy six planes.
He later converted these planes into a multi-acre compound that functions as an open-door, education hub. During the school year, crowds of students like Zakaria attend lectures on the physics of flight, computer science, basic engineering, and more free of charge.
An aerial view shows six repurposed aircraft parked at Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama’s studio facility, a multi-acre compound that functions as an open-door education hub, in Tamale, Ghana July 15, 2022. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko
“It’s not so much about inspiring artists, but producing thinkers,” Mahama said of the facility, which he built in his father’s village to give residents the chance to nurture critical thinking – a skill he believes necessary for creative and personal liberation.
“If children grow up to think differently from their predecessors, that’s a step towards a certain kind of imminent change for our society,” he said.
Red Clay contains several warehouse-sized buildings made from recycled materials and locally-sourced red clay bricks.
It also doubles as Mahama’s workshop where he produces works that go on to sell for thousands, if not millions, of dollars.