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Artists in Gambia

Baboucarr Etu Ndow Moulaye Sarr
Bubacarr Badgie Njogu Touray
Edrisa Jobe Toyimbo
Momodou Ceesay  
Famous Gambian Artists:
BatikThey include people who have created some original contemporary works on canvasses, sketches, drawings and lithographs from the likes of Momodou Ceesay, Baboucarr Etu Ndow, Njogu Touray, Malick Ceesay, Edrisa Jobe, Alhajie Bubacarr Badgie, Toyimbo, Moulaye Sarr, Papa Alassane Gaye as well as lesser known talents.

Some of them represent the Avant-garde of the current art movement in the Gambia who use there own individual, innovative techniques and styles. For example Etu prefers to use on his canvases objects he finds in his natural surroundings, Modou Ceesay prefers to work in the abstract using synthetic acrylics and water-colours and Malick conveys stylized African figures on canvass.

Sand paintingGambian society has laid great emphasis on the art of griot storytelling and music but has shied away from the visual arts of paintings whether in water colours, oil paintings or offset lithography. However, the past few decades has seen the growing emergence of a handful of prominent, talented and renowned local Gambian artists as well as some who are based internationally.

Among the lesser know creative talent you can find paintings which choose to portray and focus on subjects from local society or international issues. However, many are aimed directly at the tourist market which can have a un-original and formulaic feel but can be bought at bargain prices. Keep an eye out for up-and-coming talents such as Mustapha Jassey, Abdoulie Colley, Lamin Dibba.

Art dealers and collectors have in this century come to the conclusion that there is none 1 monolithic Gambian school of art. Artists of Gambian descent, just as all artists do, choose creative expressions that reflect their individual artistic, social and intellectual concerns. Today the country's artists explore their heritage, their culture and art itself in a wide variety of art forms and media. The arts market is more concerned more with the quality of the work itself and less with the style.

Reverse-glass painting in Gambia flourishes today as a commercial, touristic art form, but this was not always the case. Well before the 1960s, it was mainly a local art for local consumption. There has been a dual move away from the earlier focus on Islamic religious topics to more secular modern themes such as portraits, domestic scenes and general social commentary.

Thanks to major international exhibitions in recent years Gambian tribal artists have gained in popularity among connoisseurs.  At the beginning of the 20th century this new form was already arousing great interest among collectors and fine artists alike; and at a time when it was seen as the innocent cultural creations of primitive peoples, Picasso, was already drawing inspiration from the strikingly new qualities of form. Over the past 10 years market globalisation and the World Wide Web have heightened the interest of collectors and scholars in objects from West Africa.
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