Ghana Movie Poster Art Show Comes to Memento Tattoo and Gallery

Hope Madden Hope Madden Ghana Movie Poster Art Show Comes to Memento Tattoo and GalleryPapa Warsti's work will be on display and for sale at Memento Tattoo & Gallery on Saturday, January 15 - Photos by Susan Post
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It’s been about two years since Memento Tattoo and Gallery (1453 Grandview Ave., Ste A) held an art exhibition. For most of the shop’s 12-year history, they coordinated with Grandview Hop events held the last Saturday of every month to showcase mainly local artists, but that ended with their Halloween show in 2019.

They’re bringing the events back this Saturday, January 15, from 2 – 10 p.m., with a slew of original work from Ghanaian artist Papa Warsti.

“When I opened a tattoo shop, I wanted to have a gallery, too,” says shop owner Cary Aldridge. The goal, he says, was to promote local artists, including those working in his shop.

“We all do art here, too,” he says. “I’ve been doing art for longer than tattoos.”

But this month’s featured artist is not local. 75-year-old Papa Warsti lives in Ghana, where he got his start painting movie advertisements on the back of 3 x 5 foot flour sacks. Originally the images were used to advertise “video clubs.”

“They would travel around the country with a generator and a VCR,” he says. “These posters would advertise the movies that they were showing to these villages and little cities.”

Aldridge describes the style as something similar to old circus banners.

“They didn’t have access to the original movie posters, this was their advertisements. So, they would exaggerate these and just make them over the top and wild to get people interested,” Aldridge explains.

A close-up detail of the weathering on the flour sack canvases

Memento will have 75 Warsti originals on display, all for sale.

“He’s been doing it since the ’60s and ’70s,” Aldridge says. “He’s a pioneer of this. He was one of the first.”

Warsti’s focus tends to be B-horror, with wild re-imaginings of Dolls, The House that Dripped Blood, Suspiria and more.

“We’ve got Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, American Werewolf in London,” Aldridge says. “They’re mostly horror films. Most them are B movies. I don’t even know how they discovered them in Ghana.”

Along with the art, Memento will have prizes including a Papa Wursti original, tickets and movie swag from Grandview Cinema and Drafthouse, and free tattoos.

RSVP to Saturday’s event on Facebook. For more information, visit

All photos by Susan Post

Warsti’s signature
The works will line the shop’s walls come Saturday
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