Nov 12, 2008, 5:03 AM
A new museum named Mama
Africa Women's and Art Center was recentlyopened at Batokunku village in Kombo South, at a colourful ceremony witnessed by senior government officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, National Center for Arts and Culture, international organizations in the country and the media.
In a speech delivered on her behalf by Fatou Mass Jobe, Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Vice President, Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy said this Women's Museum and Art Center would, without doubt, also contribute to the development of cultural tourism in The Gambia. Noting that it is a cornerstone of the tourism policy in terms of product development and diversification, she said the opening of this center is yet another attraction for tourists and indeed other visitors to the country.
"I am also encouraged by the fact that the center will serve as a focal point for training young artists and harnessing their innate talents in different realm of the visual and plastic arts so that they will become fully fledged artists that will assume their rightful roles in the socio-economic advancement of the country," she stated.
She furthered explained that a nation's artists, producing a nation's art, are important partners in development.
According to her, art permeates virtually every aspect of life, from the utilitarian and functional things that we need and use as humans, to the aesthetics and decorative aspects.
"The art of a nation portrays the creative genius of its people and exposes in a positive and aesthetic form, the socio-cultural features of a country," she added.
She noted that great attention should be giving to the arts because they constitute an important pillar in national development, adding that the development and promotion of the visual and plastic arts is a cornerstone of the cultural policy of The Gambia.
The Tourism minister on her own part assures of her ministry's support to upgrade the standards of Gambian visual and plastic arts through this center which she was created in the context of contributing to national development.
For his part, Momodou Joof, Director of National Center for Arts and Culture thanked Isha Fofana and her husband for what he calls "a job well done" adding that Isha and her busband have played a very important role in the socio-economic development of The Gambia.
He maintained that this art museum is yet another ground-breaking event for the cultural sector as well as for the tourism sector.
In the view of Director Joof, it is very rear to find young people, and in the case young Gambians, who travel abroad and make a name for themselves as Isha Fofana, who he said had turned out to be a very successful artist and come back to contribute to the development of the country.
Mr Joof explained that the promotion of arts and culture remains a cornerstone of the Gambia's cultural and tourism policy. He therefore called on other artists in the country to emulate Isha.
Isha Fofana, a renowned international Gambian female artist and the founder of Mama Africa in The Gambia, thanked all those who lend support in one way or another for establishment of the project.
Isha Fofana started the first exhibition at the place with a selection of her artworks, paintings, sculptures and installations, where other artists from the sub-region have now started working at the Art Center and exhibiting their works too.
The Museum and Art Center bring to life the voices, talents, achievements, aspirations and stories of the past, present and future. They are based in the extraordinary, tranquil location of Mama Africa in Batokunku. The first visitors are fascinated about the quality of the art works and the place itself- enjoying the creative and peaceful atmosphere.