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Ghana Artist Adds Old Airplanes to Community Learning Space

This file photo shows a community learning center established by artist Ibrahim Mahama in his birthplace village of Jenakpeng. Mahama recently added six old airplanes, shown in the image, to the center. (Reuters from video)
Ghana Artist Adds Old Airplanes to Community Learning Space
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An artist in Ghana has added six old airplanes to a community learning space in the village where he was born.

The artist, Ibrahim Mahama, bought the planes last year to add to an educational center he created called Red Clay Studio.

Mahama is an internationally recognized artist who grew up in Ghana’s capital, Accra. But he returned to the northern village of Jenakpeng to build an art studio and community learning space.

The educational center is made up of several large buildings. It is designed to teach students about subjects like the physics of flying, computer science, history, engineering and more. The lessons are free.

Red Clay was built entirely with recycled and locally sourced materials. This is very much like Mahama’s art. He made a name for himself by repurposing unwanted or waste materials into works of modern art.

The old planes were the latest addition to the center’s educational offerings. They are meant to give students an up-close look at planes.

Mahama told Reuters news agency the community learning space is “not so much about inspiring artists but producing thinkers.”

“If children grow up and they can think differently from what their predecessors were thinking, it is a step towards a certain kind of imminent change within our society,” Mahama said.

Sixteen-year-old Abdul Latif Zakaria has been visiting Red Clay for years. On a recent visit, he experimented with drones that captured images of the surroundings, including the six airplanes.

Red Clay also serves as Mahama’s base for his art business. His pieces can sell for thousands or even millions of dollars.

Zakaria’s father, Dennard, is employed to take care of Red Clay. He says the center provides children with the chance to explore subjects that would otherwise be closed off to them. He added that the experiences can build confidence and help children learn more about themselves and where they want to go in life.

Mahama said he believes the educational space can “transform ideas and lives” for those who visit. He added, “In the future, it means that it’s going to make the entire country, or even the entire world, even a much better place.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Reuters reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

entire adj. whole or complete

studion. a space where an artist or photographer works

inspire v. to make someone feel that they want to do something and can do it

predecessor n. the person who was in a job or position before

imminent adj. happening very soon

drone n. a self-piloted vehicle that flies in the air

confidencen. a feeling of being sure in one’s own abilities

transform v. to change something completely, usually to improve it


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