Tuesday, August 21, 2012

centre de promotion de l'artisanat

The centre de promotion de l'artisanat is a place in Cotonou that showcases art and craft in different forms. Specifically, drawings, carvings and paintings. An artisanat is a place where skilled craftsmen (and women) create interesting objects and pieces. This got me a little confused in the definition of art and craft. Art is expressive, think literature, music, paintings and sculptures. Craft, on the other hand, isn't. A craft can be decorative art, like vases, small decorative paintings and so on. But then again, I suppose a craft that is expressive enough can be described as an art.  (o_O)?

Can you see the name in the distance, atop the blue canopy?

At any rate, in this little quaint place in Cotonou, the main attractions were carvings and drawings. By driving slowly around the center, we were able to see most of the drawings, sculptures, drums and other artistic elements carved from wood. There were also unique yards of colorful clothing, known as ankara and one of a kind jewelries on wooden stands.


Do you see women in colorful blouses pounding yam in one of the drawings in the above picture? Pounded yam is a staple dish in western africa. Enjoyed by many but prepared by few, this filling dish is quite intricate and precise in preparation. Can be painful as well, if your palms are not used to holding long pestles in a firm grip.


 Most of the craftsmen stayed inside these hut-like buildings, shielded from the blazing afternoon sun. And those that were outside sat beneath trees with big, green branches that provided a cooling shade. Cotonou, just like most african cities can be unmercifully hot in the afternoons.


This is my favorite object, the object in the center on a step ladder. It looks like something out of shape and symmetry. Humanoid in form, but without eyes and almost hunch-back in appearance.



I love the little houses in the centre de promotion de l'artisant. They look like huts and appear to be made from mud. In truth, the house are made from concrete blocks.

The roofs, however, are very interesting. They look like huge canopies hung over a house. I wonder if this is to provide adequate cooling from the sun or simply decorative. Or both.














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