The excitement that greeted the old, abandoned trains that have just been transported to the northern parts of Ghana is one that, for many reasons, can best be described as a historic moment.
And that has been made possible because of the ingenuity of Ibrahim Mahama the artist, as part of his long-term dreams of building a studio that will become a tourist attraction and a learning hub for students in the engineering field, particularly in the northern parts of the country.
And justifiable so, when residents of Tamale beheld the long train of trucks conveying some abandoned trains that the artist recently purchased, being conveyed through their streets, they could not hold back their joy.
Known for his unique ability to create art out of what most people consider junk, Ibrahim Mahama has been able to bring relevance to such things as sacks, and old sewing machines, among other things.
This has earned him a global name for his distinct art, which not only promotes Ghana but also because of the historical significance attached to them.
And this is just what he has, again, done with the purchase of these old trains, which are also headed for his Red Clay Studios (a museum and community space) at Jenakpeng in the Northern Region of Ghana.
In an update post since he first announced the transportation of the old trains from various locations in the country, in a Monday, January 9, 2023, tweet, the artist shared a video, and other photos of the great reception the people of Tamale gave them when the trucks arrived in the town.
With children, as well as the elderly lined up along the major routes that the trucks used, and others packed up in tricycles either leading or following them, the people of the city gave the team a rousing welcome.
In his updated tweet, Ibrahim Mahama said it is a historic feat as it is the first time a train has ever been spotted on any soil anywhere in the northern parts of Ghana.
He also explained what these old trains would eventually be used for.
“We had a great welcome in Tamale last night after being on the road for literally four days from Sekondi and Nsawam to Tamale. This is historic as it’s the first time a train has been on any soil in northern Ghana. Now they will exist as classrooms, memory banks and sculptures,” he tweeted.
In his January 9 post, Ibrahim Mahama spoke about his excitement in taking up history to the north.
“Taking history up north to build new histories. From Gold Coast Railways to Ghana Railways and beyond. Trains crossing River Pra at Beposo Western Region of Ghana,” he said.
In 2021, the artist bought some of Ghana’s old planes to create a museum and community space in Jenakpeng in the Northern Region.
He has since then been on a drive to ensure that his Red Clay Studio becomes home to some of these historic, yet abandoned or old machines.