‘Love Campus ABCD’ is a part of a wider piece titled Postcards from Now, currently showing at the Manchester International Festival. The project combines five different perspectives from leading international artists, exploring everything from community to communication, patriarchy and power.
The film, set in Tamale, Ghana, opens up with short paragraphs detailing how the project came to fruition. It explains “this film highlights Ibrahim’s work in creating experimental, cultural and learning infrastructure, from the Northern Region of Ghana that comprises Red Clay studio and two new art spaces”.
Its purpose is to educate the younger generation about Ghana’s rich culture and how technology plays a pivotal role in shaping the country into what it is now. Additionally, the project aims to expand young people’s historical knowledge of Ghana – from colonial times, through independence to the present day.
Firstly, we are presented with a bunch of enthusiastic children at the main Tamale Infrastructure. Ibrahim Mahama stresses the importance of history, stating that: “Archives are extremely important because they tell the story of mankind and humanity. It’s like archives are life themselves”.
At first, you look at his audience and think ‘What importance does this have for a seven-year-old? Usually,they are more concerned about when they get to play or what they will eat next.’ But as the film goes on, Mahama drops pearls of wisdom about Ghanaian history, highlighting the interweaved connection with the UK due to colonialism. Mahama also introduces high-class technologies such as drones and planes, inspiring young people to embrace the new as well as the old.
The children are in awe of technology, from the simplicity of trains to the concept of a 100-year-old building being transported across the seas, and that newfound thirst for knowledge is very moving.
Although the film was rich in information and explored the infrastructure well, it does feel very random at times. We are outsiders looking in and it would have been nice to have had more narration to guide the audience through the experience.
‘Love Campus ABCD’ reminds us that knowledge is a gift that, when cultivated, births a new generation that is unstoppable. Overall, it’s insightful and heartwarming. If you leave with anything I hope it’s valuing the knowledge of both the past and the future.