Deadly Prey Gallery is a Chicago-based traveling art gallery working with 10 artists in and around Accra, Ghana, Africa. We are dedicated to the preservation of hand-painted Ghanian movie posters, with the central focus being supporting the incredible artists currently painting them.

We house and archive a unique collection of thousands of these posters spanning their 30+ year tradition. Commission opportunities, original paintings, prints, books and more are available, with 100% of the profits going to the artists.

The History

The History of Ghanaian movie posters

These wild posters were once the product of a much larger industry known as the “Ghanaian Mobile Cinema”. This business started in the late 1980’s when Ghanain entrepreneurs formed video clubs. With a television, vcr, vhs tapes, and a portable generator they’d travel throughout Ghana setting up make-shift screening areas in villages with little or no electricity. These video clubs also had more permanent theaters in the cities like Accra, Cape Coast and Kumasi.

An interesting selection of movies became popular mainly due to availability. These genres include Hollywood action and horror, low budget American straight to video features, Bollywood films, Hong Kong martial arts movies, and of course an ever-growing selection of native Ghanaian and Nigerian features.

As more people gained interest in this rising business, competition arose. Mobile cinema operators found a need to set their products apart, so an advertising motif came into play. With no affordable access to printing, the hand-painted movie poster was the most logical advertising vehicle. Skilled local artists were now part of this growing entertainment industry in Ghana, and they surely brought their own distinct touch to each film they were called upon to promote. It was very common for the video operator to explain to the artists what to paint or give them reference material which might not exactly be in the movie. Often time extra violence, horror or sex was added to these painted posters in an effort to sell more tickets!

By sewing together used flour sacks, a perfect sized canvas for an over-sized movie poster was created. The ruggedness of these posters is immediately noticed. Though a specific poster might only be 15-20 years old, it’s appearance will far surpass it’s actual age due to the elemental toll one takes from constant transit, being rolled, folded, left in the sun, rain, etc. Today access to printing is far less expensive and home viewing has become more accessible to the general public in Ghana. By the mid to late 2000’s the mobile cinema had all but passed away, but these hand-painted movie posters remain a wonderful, tangible product of the time. Many of the same artists from Ghana’s former mobile cinema continue to paint movie posters as art with Deadly Prey Gallery on a commission basis to a growing worldwide audience today.

The Founder

Brian Chankin’s obsession with movies started at age 8 when his parents rented him Armed and Dangerous on VHS. Seventeen years later he’d open Odd Obsession Movies in Chicago, a video rental store specializing in everything weird, obscure and/or classic. During this time he started collecting hand-painted Ghanian movie posters to decorate the tall walls of the video store, which led him to meet Robert Kofi in Ghana. Robert worked with many of the movie poster artists in Ghana as a teenager in the 90’s. Over the course of a couple years the two men became best friends, so in 2012 Deadly Prey Gallery was born with Brian and Robert as partners! Today they work with 10 artists in Ghana on commission paintings, while also producing prints, books and other merchandise with all profits going to the artists.