Although the region comprises 17 nations, most of our products come from just five: Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali. For the contemporary works we’ll continue to uncover an abundance of artisans whose creations are a brilliant blend of old and new Africa. You can see the blend in the Wolof basketry of Senegal or tie-dye batiks of Ghana; traditional crafts infused with fresh creativity.
The raison d’etre for Dakar Bazaar is to tell the compelling history, its products and peoples, that begins in this region. So it seems fitting that we acknowledge their legacy by also presenting collection of heritage items. We currently offer tribal works from the Dogon, Senufo, Bobo and Baule kingdoms. We think they make a wonderful juxtaposition to the more contemporary works.
A little-known fact: Brazil has the largest population of people of African descent outside of the Continent. African heritage imbues virtually every aspect of Brazilian culture—music, dance, language, art. And in recent years there’s been a renewed recognition and vibrance for this heritage among its younger population. We’re very excited to promote this next wave of artisans along with the traditional.
Hundreds of thousands Africans were brought to Colombia in enslavement. Although the remaining African heritage in Colombia is more obscure it is still evident in places such as San Basilio, one of the palenques that dot the coastal regions. As a result it’s challenging to find locally crafted works that reflect authentic African influences. But we feel Colombia is an important part of the Diapsora story. So keep an eye out for one of our upcoming discovery trips and the pieces we hope to offer you in the near future.
Maybe more than any other Caribbean country, Jamaica is well-known for its robust ties to Africa. The Rastafari movement and the iconic status of Bob Marley has made Jamaica synonymous with Pan-Africanism. Of the many forms of arts and crafts present on the island, the African essence is most prominent and accessible in its ceramics and carvings. Particularly with ceramics there is a bold use of color and imagery that is unmistakably African while uniquely reflecting the islands environment. The importance of tourism to the economy makes it challenging to find authentic, local works. But we will continue our search to find true artisans that express the genuine synthesis of the Diaspora.
As one of the first colonies of enslaved peoples in the Western Hemisphere to successfully win its independence, Haiti’s lineage to the Continent is nearly unbroken. While retaining much of its African heritage the arts and crafts are still uniquely Haitian. As is true everywhere the creative works of the place are largely, maybe primarily, shaped by their immediate environment. This is evident in the metal arts of Haiti. Metal artisanship is one of its signature crafts. The center for these sculptures is the village of Croix-des-Bouquets, where the constant sounds of hammering of metal is the music of this locale. These stylized works, often used as wall adornments, are metal bouquets flourishing with flora and fauna. Although the works are uniquely Haitian the colorations and nature themes are essentially African.