Village Des Arts: The Most Unusual Hidden Gem of Dakar
Did you know that there is an art village founded by a community of independent African artists in the busy downtown of Dakar? Ladies and gentlemen, here is Village Des Arts! The most astounding hidden gem of the most vivid city of West-Africa!
Village Des Arts was founded in 1998 by a group of artists in the Yoff vicinity in Dakar. The area where this unique art village is located had once been an abandoned complex which was subsequently converted into a small art oasis. One could simply never expect to find such a nice a tranquil spot in the middle of Dakar’s busy life so it comes as a great surprise to anyone who discovers this gem. Today Village of Arts runs under the authority of the Ministry of Culture and primarily owes its prominence to investments made by the government.
There are around 50 studios and workshops in the complex where creative artists perform their works. Aside from IFAN museum, Village Des Arts is one of the best places to see various art disciplines such as sculpting, painting, ceramics, mud crafting, collaging combined with traditional Senegalese style. Every corner and nook of this place has a different aesthetic to offer.
Feel free to roam around the workshops, pay short visits to artists and exchange words with them. The down-to-earth artists are very welcoming towards visitors. For sure, they will be very eager to chat with you and get to know your story. Many artists invited me their studios for coffee and to chat. I even listened to some reggae music with a Rastafarian artist and has espresso with him. Let alone Village Des Arts, in whole Senegal, this was the level of hospitality I experienced. Felt very welcome and safe.
One point that is worth mentioning, is the humble genius Lassana Gassama. He is a very impressive artist with a unique perspective of art. Primarily, in his works Lassama focusses on faces and the way he depicts human facial figures is quite stylish. I loved his works so much that I purchased some to take memoirs back home. Lassana and I chatted a lot about various topics. He is a very soft-spoken, kind, down-to-earth and an intelligent guy.
Village Des Arts is the number one place among the secret spots and unpopular attractions of the city. It comes a great surprised to the ones who are eager explore this vivid West-African city thoroughly. It is guaranteed that, Village Des Arts will be one of the most unforgettable places you will visit in Senegal.
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