Ibrahim Mahama
Songs about Roses


The first-ever solo exhibition in Scotland of the work of Ibrahim Mahama; a Ghanaian artist critically acclaimed for his evocative large-scale, site-specific installations that speak to the cultural and social effects of post-colonialism and global migration.

Born in Tamale in 1987, Mahama burst onto the international art scene at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 with Out of Bounds, a work that clad the massive outside wall of the Arsenale in jute sacks to make a visually spectacular and thought-provoking installation. The sacks were worn, torn and had lived several lives before ending up in the artworld: they were old cocoa- bean sacks, most recently used by charcoal sellers, many of whom had written their names on the sacks. Mahama obtained them by exchange, and the work set the tone for his on-going investigation into the life of materials and their dynamic potential – the sacks telling a visual history of the narratives of production and trade, and the more human tales embodied within.

At Fruitmarket, Mahama works with materials he has collected from the now obsolete railway the British built in Ghana in 1923 to transport minerals and cocoa around the then Gold Coast. Large scale charcoal and ink drawings, sculpture and film bring the materials, histories and ghosts of this defunct railway back to Britain, re-installing it on top of the railway here in Edinburgh.

Mahama wraps politics and protest into his materials and methods. His Fruitmarket exhibition is named for a song by Scottish band Owl John: ‘we don’t need songs about roses/Please sing me something new … we don’t need songs about roses/All that we ask for is truth’.


New Monograph
We are making a major new book to celebrate this exhibition, with imagery of the installation and all Mahama’s major work to date, plus new writing from Aby Gaye and Godelive Kasangati and an interview with Ibrahim Mahama. This will be available for pre order soon.

Artist’s Talk
We’re excited that Ibrahim Mahama will be joining us for an artist’s talk in September. Keep an eye on our website for details.


Supported by the Henry Moore Foundation, White Cube and the Ibrahim Mahama Supporters Circle: Emma and Frederick Goltz, Jill Hackel & Andrzej Zarzycki, Soo & Jonathan Hitchin, Suling C Mead, Dasha Shenkman OBE, Mary Wolridge

This exhibition forms part of Edinburgh Art Festival which returns from 09.08.24–25.08.24 

All images © Ibrahim Mahama. Courtesy the artist and White Cube.  


© 2024 Fruitmarket

Design by Touch