Awal Sunil Shetty, Ghanian Movie Poster, "Oracle Baptism 2", painting on recycled canvas bag, signed. Size: 63" x 43".
In the 1980s, the advent of the video cassette created an industry of small-scale film distribution in Africa. Traveling “cinema” operators, equipped with a television or projector and a portable generator, would peddle a film from one town to the next. The need for advertisement for these screenings created a new genre of African popular art: the hand-painted movie poster. The artists of these posters, typically using oil paint on canvas, would create a composition based upon the film—a film which they typically would have watched, but do not aim merely to replicate in their poster. Their composition might recreate a particular scene or shot from the film, but just as often it would be a constructed image that evokes the essence of the story. Consequently, in addition to being hand-painted, the posters tend to be unique in design, and an expression of their artists' vision, not simply an advertisement.