Today I helped two study abroad students connect with some Thies artisans so they can write their thesis on West African Art. I wont lie and say I was thrilled with the proposition especially after I received a text message announcing their departure from Dakar as an early morning wake up, but it ended up being a pretty interesting day although it's starting to get really hot.
Our first stop was the artisanal village, which I was not looking forward to because all of the artisans who work their just attack foreigners and try to force you to buy something. Nevertheless the study abroad girls, who happen to attend MSU and UM stateside - go figure, wanted to go to the artisanal village so I soldiered on. We ended up talking to one of the jewelers for a long time and he was incredibly nice and helpful. I learned a lot about Senegalese jewelry and which ethnic groups wear which type of jewelry which was very interesting. I also learned why my family doesn't like my silver locket or watch that I wear every day - Wolof people only like gold while most people from the north prefer silver. I also learned that the cool rings that a lot of people wear have special prayers inside. The jeweler also gave us a demonstration on how he melts the silver and then molds it into the ID type bracelets that a lot of people wear here. It was interesting and made the rest of the time that we discussed painted fabric somewhat less painful that it should've been.
We left the artisanal village for the tapestry museum which claims it's open on Saturday's. Nope. Closed. I have yet to see the tapestry museum actually open and therefore I haven't gone. The next time I have a guest in town I'm going to have Dioss call his friend who works there and make sure it's open because the museum is actually fairly famous and supposedly pretty cool so I really want to go. Instead of the museum we settled on lunch with some other PCVs from my stage who were in town to help with PST.
In the afternoon we went to Dioss' which I knew was going to be a hit. I just didn't know how big of a hit it was going to be. We were there for almost three hours and I was dying from the heat and exhaustion and listening to Dioss wax on and on about things I have heard about a million times. Although, it was interesting to hear him explain some of his techniques. On one type of painting he puts flour in the paint to give it added texture. I was also happy to bring Dioss some more business. Both girls bought a couple of cards and I have to say that business is booming at Dioss' gallery because of me.
For some insane reason I walked home from Dioss' after putting the girls in a taxi on their way to the garage and almost died from heat exhaustion. I walked into my house and laid on the tile floor in the family room much to the delight of all of the women in my house who were already laying their topless. Ahmed was "nice" enough to pour water all over me which instantaneously dried. Now, after a couple of hours of drawing with Ahmed and one his friends and timing them run back and forth across the compound I'm waiting for my chicken dinner with salad to be served.
Messy, but Warm
10 months ago