Category Archives: Gambia

Lamin Songo

Lamin has worked for 10 years as an artist. He knew from the beginning that he wanted to be an artisan, like his father, and once he finalised school, he started working with him in the crafts. He specialises in the use of horns to create different figures, specially birds. Every week he visits the local slaughterhouse to fetch left-over horns with which he can create his pieces. He shares the shop and his passion for horn figures with Vea Bambara.

Raki Sowe

Raki was involved in an accident a few years ago. Due to this, she lost one hand, but did not lose her eagerness to work in the arts. Though many would see this as a big limitation and an obtacle to work properly, she just got used to using her other hand and counts on the caring help of her 9 children, who alway help her in the creation of necklaces and other pieces of jewelry.

Beram Sowe

Born in 1978, he learnt from his father. His first visit to the market was when he was only 2 years old. He didn’t like going to school because he knew a job would not be waiting for him, arms wide open, after finishing. The shop in the market belonged to his father, who transmitted his love for the arts to many family members, though Beram is the only one who is still working in the field. He has 5 children, who already know some tricks.

Ansumana Manneh

Unlike most, he was inspired by a friend. Before becoming an artisan he was a carpenter, but always felt interested in the crafts, so an artisan friend helped him. Now 30 years have already gone by and this profession has given him a lot of joy and the possibility of feeding his family. He is currently expecting a new family member to join the 2 children he already has.

Lamin Manneh

He became an artist in 2001, after his father. When he finished school, he joined him in the shop and they worked together. He loves his profession and would wants some of his children to learn. He is a staunch defender of the Gambian arts, inherited from the ancestors. Crafts in the Gambia are slowly developping and every year they are better, bringing new ideas. There are rich exchanges with other African countries such as Guinea, Senegal or Mali.

Dawda Bah

He came to Brikama in 1997 to join his mother. He followed the family tradition because of his uncle, because his father was a soldier. His uncle brought him to the market and taught him. In 1998 he started working in the arts, specializing in the design of bowls, though also working on other carvings. He has 5 children who go to school, some seem interested, but he does not know what they want. He was raised in an area covered by fruit trees, and they’ve always inspired him.

Kumba Jarju

Between 1978 and 1994 he worked as a driver, but when his contract terminated he could not find another job and he decided to change the sector and avoid an uncertain future for his family. He looked for someone who could teach him the arts and learnt carving until he was qualified to work on his own. Looking back now, he considers himself fortunate for being fired all those years ago, because it allowed him to discover his true passion. His new profession helps him provide for his parents, his 11 children and his wife.

Sarjo Sowe

When he was still very young, his father began training him as a carver. He enjoyed it because of its creativity, of the freedom to let your imagination go wild. Even though his father did not force him to continue with his profession, Sayo wanted to follow his footsteps. He is the only family member working in the little shop in the Brikama crafts market. His brothers are still too young and, like his father did with him, he does not want to force his children, though they are slowly starting to learn and they seem to like it. 25 years later, he is still working in the market. He is inspired by the rich African culture. His favorite piece is the Mandinka four-faced mask, that portrays to perfection the Gambian tradition.