Ibrahim Mahama wins inaugural Sam Gilliam Award


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The Sam Gilliam Foundation and the Dia Art Foundation have announced the first-ever Sam Gilliam Award recipient, Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama. The prize was created in 2023 to honour artists who have significantly impacted art in any medium. It comes with a $75,000 gift and a public programme at a Dia location in the autumn of 2024. This collaboration comes after Dia’s 2019–2022 exhibition of Sam Gilliam’s artwork.

Mahama, who was born in Tamale, Ghana, in 1987, is well-known for his expansive textile and found-object installations, which recycle materials to promote thought on the social implications of commonplace items. He also highlights the value of community collaboration in his work.

“I was first introduced to Gilliam’s important work as a student by my mentor Kąrî’kạchä Seid’ou, and it has been greatly influential to me ever since,” said Mahama in a statement. “The most important aspect of any community is to share their many gifts, even if they are born out of precarity, for within that point do we expand freedom to all life forms.”

Mahama has had solo exhibitions of his work shown recently all over Europe, including the Kunsthalle Osnabrück in Germany and the Oude Kerk Amsterdam (2022).

A solo show at Edinburgh’s The Fruitmarket Gallery will take place shortly after his commission at London’s Barbican Centre, which is scheduled to open in April 2024.

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