Dar es Salaam Travel Blog› entry 4 of 15 › view all entries
December 26th, 2006 – by: jenn79
I, of course, being the snobby American I am, took one look at the garish colors and untrained brush strokes and immediately asked Jafar to sneak me away to the Slipway market. I wanted to buy some shadowboxes I had seen the day before with wooden sculptures of villagers and Masaai warriors inset into them. Since I already knew what I wanted, I was able to get in and out of the Slipway Hotel, with a juice drink no less in approximately 15 minutes.
I returned to find Louisa prompting me to visit an "arts cooperative" and I was thinking "what the hell is that?" In the very back of this cul de sac there is a hot, humid, and turpentine smelling room full of goods and paintings from local artisans. I was really surprised to see the quality of work here - as it was vastly different from the art hanging outside when you enter the street. You can tell these artists are probably handpicked by some sort of association to create art in exchange for a stipend plus 20% in commissions. There was nothing that caught my eye and wouldn't let go, but multiple purchases were made by Fabrice, Louisa, Eva, Marie-Josee and Francisco.
I, sadly, live in such a tiny apartment that there really isn't room for large paintings. They accomodate the sales to tourists by painting on a stretchy canvas and then spraying with a fixative so that the paint neither runs nor sticks. They roll the top sheet of canvas up and roll it in cardboard to ship home.
I think Fabrice won the prize for best bargaining. He bought a large painting that they wanted $200 for $100. Perhaps one day when I have a home (or live in Africa! =) I can find something here that suits me.
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