the gambia


UK-based artist and designer INSA (previously featured here) just shared an awesome new Gif-iti piece. This time INSA traveled to The Gambia where he painted the outside of a thatched mud hut as part of Lynx Africa’s 18th anniversary celebration:

“It was only after I had had all the inoculations and boarded the plane that I realised I had misread the brief of ‘Make a piece of work inspired by Africa’ to Make a piece of work IN Africa!

Anyway it worked out well as I couldn’t think of a better way to produce a piece of work inspired by a place than actually visiting it. I flew to The Gambia and spent some time in and around the villages on the mangroves of Makasutu Jungle. I painted a traditional african thatched mud hut that belong to Saloum and his 2 wives and many children. Saloum was particularly pleased with the marching elephants as they have pretty much been wiped out in The Gambia apart from the one owed by the president.”

Click here for a timelapse process video.

[via Insaland]



Night fishers, oyster gatherers, rat-catchers, ceremonial leaders, farmers – Africa’s humble workers are graced with dignity in a photo series shot in the sacred forest of Makasutu

“Photography for me is a way to strip away the boundaries, the prejudices and the false ideas that society and environmental pressures impose to frame my vision. It is a conduit and a tool to bridge a myriad of barriers, be they linguistic, age related, or ideological. In my approach the most important thing about photography is the process. It is about being in the moment and about the connection with the person or place I photograph. It is about finding a way to describe myself and in a way engage with humanity.”

Jason Florio is a NYC based photographer and writer from London. For the past 10 years he has worked as a freelance photojournalist around the globe for publications including The New Yorker, New York Times, Outside, Libération and The Times of London. (via Afritorial)

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Dedicated to the Cultural Preservation of the African Aesthetic


In Photos: “Signares” by Fabrice Monteiro.

Exploring history and fashion along the west coast of Africa, for his series ’Signares’ Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro recalls a time in history where distinct cultures collided.

As European traders and explorers began to ascend on Africa’s west coast around the 15th and 16th century, as these men where forbidden from bringing their families and wives from their home countries, they began to intermingle and intermarry with African women in the Senegambia region. As a result of these relations, many of these women began to orchestrate business dealings to their benefits “using these partnerships to bolster their socioeconomic standing and personal trading enterprises”. One signare in the 1770s from St Louis, Senegal, is noted to have been a property owner and dealer as she bought and sold property in Saint-Domingue, while “five other signares in Gorée signed a petition against a poorly run French company that had been awarded an exclusive contract with the island”. 

Although these relations were not at first recognized by colonial and European authorities, it later became acceptable for Europeans living in Senegal to marry and have their descendants profit from these unions through heritage rights. Most of these women were considered to be of a high class and often married “middle-class executives or French and English aristocrats”. Naturally, a new sense of fashion was born as the women combined their own traditional styles with European attire at the time.

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All Africa, All the time.


Bomba is an Afro-Puerto Rican folkloric music style developed throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries by west African slaves brought to the island by the Spanish. It is a communal activity that still thrives in its traditional centers of Loíza, Santurce, Mayagüez, Ponce, and New York City. The traditional musical style has been diffused throughout the United States following the Puerto Rican Diaspora, especially in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, California, and Florida. It also became increasingly popular in Peru, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil, and has largely influenced Afro-Latino music styles within these countries.

More than just a genre of music, it’s most defining characteristic is the encounter and creative relationship between dancers, percussionists, and singers. Dance is an integral part of the music. It is popularly described as a challenge/connection, or an art of “call and answer,” in which two or more drums follow the rhythms and moves of the dancers. The challenge requires great physical shape and usually continues until either the drummer or the dancer discontinues.

There are several styles of bomba, and the popularity of these styles varies by region. There are three basic rhythms, as well as many others that are mainly variations of these: Yubá, Sicá and Holandés. Other styles include Cuembé, Bámbula, Cocobalé, and Hoyomula.


Okay, we are done. They just killed it!!




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I thought I was tired, but then my thoughts kicked in.

11:45, turn out the light, close my eyes and try to fall asleep.

Hear cars driving past on the rain-soaked street not so far from my window and door, some of them louder and faster than is probably appropriate for so late at night, on such a rainy night. Think about how I could walk outside my door right now and immediately be on a church’s lawn. And imagine the children who might randomly run around that lawn, the sides of my house, my room, my window.

But this isn’t the Gambia. Children don’t run around so willy-nilly here. In the Gambia, children would literally climb our compound walls, hang onto the gate and call out our names, wanting us to come out and play with them. But here, children aren’t supposed to run after people they don’t know so well, they aren’t supposed to go knocking on doors and running around yards of people they don’t know, except on those designated holidays that make it okay.

And oh, the compound. What I realize tonight I truly miss. When my bedroom was on the ground floor but I still found comfort in those compound walls, never having the thoughts I have tonight about people poking about just outside my window. Knowing that if I heard someone outside my window, it was only Sainabou or Haddy or Mohammed, or perhaps a family member or good friend of theirs, never a stranger. And when my home was situated off of a main road, a street cars didn’t too often drive down, and even if they did it was so rocky and sandy that they had to drive at a turtle’s pace.

It’s not even that people have even been around that church lawn, near my window and encroaching on personal space (and funny, because personal space was something I had so much less of in the Gambia, yet I didn’t really mind that it was always invaded), but it’s a thought that still crosses my mind.