The Art of Goree Island

The Art of Goree Island

Another picture from my little adventure in Senegal: the Goree Island art market. If you happen to be going to Dakar, do your art purchasing here, or at least the paintings (don’t forget to buy wood carvings on the mainland as well). Canvases hung everywhere, framed paintings littered the ground, all very bright and colourful, contemporary, decorated with stylistic figures doing traditional chores, or splashes of paint (though nicely done, not just any five-year-old with a paintbrush could have done it). The canvases were almost mass-produced, but as far as I could see, no two were alike, and there is no doubt the artists were accomplished. I don’t know what you would have to pay for the bigger ones, but I got three little paintings for (according to my wonky recollection) CFA 8,000 ($16 or so), but I miscalculated (handy excuse) so I offered more than I should. The guide was very anxious to move on.

I soon found out why we were in such a hurry: our guide also had a nice little tit-for-tat going on with a guy making sand paintings on top of the hill, and didn’t want us to miss the opportunity. What guided tour in the world does not end in the gift shop, or drop you by one? The paintings were quite nice (can’t show you, actually forgot to take a picture of the other paintings hanging there), thpugh, so I bought three small, rectangular ones (making a nice triptych); they had a more traditional “feel” (can’t you tell I’m an art expert already?) with stylistic figures (again) doing traditional chores (though quite different than the first three). I did better here, relatively speaking: half off the asking price (CFA 12,000, $24).

I left the island as quite the accomplished marathon-art-purchaser.

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Bjørnar Egede-Nissen © 2014. Some rights reserved.