Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Art Class/ Happy Birthday Kristin

I've been feeling exhausted lately so I went to bed early last night and slept in this morning. I gifted myself a morning of luxury which means reading Pride and Prejudice while eating apple sauce and a granola bar, making oatmeal just seemed too difficult.

Dioss, the artist, invited me to have lunch at the gallery before heading out to watch him teach his art class so I left my house and journey several quartiers away to his place. I put up a bunch of pictures of the gallery Dioss' art so I hope you think it's as cool as I do. I really enjoyed hanging out there again today. They play an amazing mix of early 90s soft rock and it's a very relaxing environment. I took a book and watched Dioss paint and talked to some of his brothers or cousins or friends, I don't really understand the relation, for a couple of hours before we had lunch.

Dioss' house is the first house I've really been in, other than mine, in Thies. While the gallery is really cool the house is much less impressive. The house does have amazing art all over, which is unusual for Senegalese homes. Most people just have a picture of their local maribou (religious leader) hanging in an awkward spot. They didn't have furniture like my family and there were just a bunch of mats, but I'm pretty sure this is just the boys' house and there is a larger family house nearby. We had ceebu jenn, obviously, and while not as good as what I get at home it was still good.

I had a really good discussion with Dioss and another boy about my age after lunch. They were really curious about me and what my first impressions of Senegal were. I explained how I really had no idea what Africa was like since I had never been here before and that it was shocking, but that I'm definitely getting used to living here. I always tell Senegalese people how much I love the night sky here and how light pollution is a problem in the US. They were fascinated by this and really liked that that was one of the things I really enjoy about Senegal. We talked about how Senegal has a very family based culture compared to the US and how men and women interaction much differently. We also discussed the educational system and they were floored that I was only 22 and was already done with college. It was a really interesting discussion and I was happy that we were able to speak plainly and talk about differences without having to say which was better... they're just different. It was refreshing.

The afternoon was spent in Dioss' art class. I thought it was at a high school, but it was actually a small private college. I might go back next week to watch a business English class. Dioss' class was interesting because these were college students who had never painted before. Ever. In the US we finger paint in pre-school. It was fascinating watching the students, most of whom are older than me, express themselves through art for the first time. While most goofed off for the 2 hour period, some created really wonderful paintings and explained them very eloquently to the class. Themes ranged from frustrations with Senegalese transportation, to black oppression, to dreaming about going to the US. It was very interesting to hear the explanations.

Now, I'm back at home waiting for dinner. My dad didn't come back tonight which is usually a bad sign for the quality of dinner I'm about to consume. Wish me luck. I don't think I can handle fish balls and spaghetti!

Check out the new pictures!


  1. Alyssa,

    Since most Africans do not display art, is there enough tourism for Dioss to make a living as an artist? His teaching probably provides some income but who purchases art?


  2. Alyssa, Dioss's art is really intersting. I love it Especially the first big blue one. Wow! The frames are amazing. Does he make those too?