Category Archives: Senegal

Gibbi Sowe

He is one of the oldest artisans in the crafts market. Already 73 years old, he was among the first to arrive. During his 35-years career, he also taught his children, at least those who wanted to learn the profession. Of the 7 children, 2 are working as artisans in Senegal. Though he was born in Senegal, he travelled to Gambia very young and created a family in Gambia. His father gave him the necessary tools to start working in the arts.

Maddi Sesoho

Born in Senegal, he began working as a carver in 1974. His mother was born in Mali, where one of his brothers is still living. Until 1984, his brother lived in Mali with their mother, so he decided to join him and learnt about the Malian art. He lived there between 1987 and 1997, when he travelled to the Gambia, encouraged by another brother living there. The tourism in Gambia, compared to that in Mali, was stronger and his talent would be better appreciated. He wanted to bring this culture to the Gambia and that is why he depicts Malian tribes in his work.

Jerry Sowe

He was born in 1946 in Senegal, and travelled to the Gambia in 1968. Back then, there were not many artisans in Gambia, so he taught many people. He got married in the Gambia, where he created a family of 2 boys and 4 girls. He trained his 2 sons, who decided to travel to Senegal, where they currently work and live, but they often visit their father in Gambia. Jerry learnt from his father, who was a great artist, capable of doing anything he could imagine. He loves his profession, but if he was offered a different road, he would be a business man, because he also enjoyed buying and selling, and taking care during 3 years of his father’s shop when he was young and his father had to travel.

Amadou Gaye

Amadou arrived to the Gambia 14 years ago. A family member taught him the profession for 3 years in Gambia. Many Senegalese artisans come to the Gambia because it is easier to find and collect the materials (wood, coconut, etc.). After three years of training in Gambia, he went back to Senegal to visit his parents and during this time he participated in a competition for artists, that he won. He is convinced that he can turn into a sculpture any design you bring him. He has 6 children in the Gambia and 1 living in Senegal. Unlike most people, he did not teach his children because he wants them to concentrate in school before being distracted by anything else. However, he is teaching his younger brother. Every Ramadan he goes to Senegal and stays with his parents, now only his mother, since his father passed away.

Musa Yum

He travelled to the Gambia when he was very young, so he hardly remembers anything about Senegal, he considers himself Gambian. He began carving in 1975, after his grandfather and father. The profession has run through the family for decades. However, none of his 7 children are currently dedicated to this profession. They are dedicated to going to school, though the younger shows some interest, but it is still too soon. He is slowly learning a few things, but always keeping up with his school homeworks.

Lamin Biai

Self-taught painter, he began working as an artist in 1999. Before starting a career in the field, he used to watch a friend work and that helped him learn and develop a passion for painting. He is the only artist in the family, the first and maybe the last. Though he works in the Cap Skirring craft market of Senegal, he brings his paintings to his friend Abdou Jobe, who he met long time ago and their friendship turned into a real brotherhood. Abdou sells his paintings in the Gambian crafts market. Lamin’s children are still young, so for now he does not want them to be artists, just stay in school, though his son helps him sometimes. If in the future he wants to become an artist, his father fully supports him and will send him to a specialized arts school where he will learn all techniques.