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Film Poster Paintings from Ghana

In the 1980s video cassette 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 VCR onto a portable generator and playing the films for the people to see.

In order to promote these showings, artists were hired to paint large posters of the films (usually on used canvas flour sacks). The artists were given the artistic freedom to paint the posters as they desired - often adding elements that weren’t in the actual films, or without even having seen the movies. When the posters were finished they were rolled up and taken on the road (note the heavy damages). The “mobile cinema” began to decline in the mid-nineties due to greater availability of television and video; as a result the painted film posters were substituted for less interesting/artistic posters produced on photocopied paper.

The artistic freedom that these artists were given allowed for the creation of some very interesting and sometimes bizarre posters that, as screenwriter Walter Hill wrote, were quite often “more interesting than the films.”

Most of these posters come from the book Extreme Canvas: Movie Poster Paintings from Ghana that Will from A Journey Around My Skull linked me to. The rest were found online at the below links.


Cujo (Lewis Teague, 1983)


The Terminator 2 (James Cameron, 1991)


Deadly Prey (David A. Prior, 1987)


Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)


Demonic Toys (Peter Manoogian, 1992)


Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Brian Gibson, 1986)


Eaten Alive (Tobe Hooper, 1977)


The Spy Who Loved Me (Lewis Gilbert, 1977)


Sleepwalkers (Mick Garris, 1992)


House Party (Reginald Hudlin, 1990)


Dolly Dearest (Maria Lease, 1991)


Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (James D.R. Hickox, 1995)


The Stolen Bible 2 (Emeka Nwabueze, 2004)


Monster Evil Protact [?]

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Extreme Canvas: Movie Poster Paintings from Ghana by Ernie Wolfe, Ernie Wolfe III, John Yau, Roy Sieber - worldcat [link] amazon [link]
GhanaMoviePosters.com [link]
Killers of Canvas @ the Dutch Poster Museum [link]
online exhibition at Rene Wanner's Poster Page [link]
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