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Children of the Baobab

Ron Caplain, Photographer
Karen Nash, Sculptor
Astou Dioum, Basketmaker

June 2 - July 1, 2018

RON CAPLAIN: Artist's Statement

Most of the images were taken in Benin, but some are Angola, Sao Tome.  We were told that the people were so happy and content in these countries but looking at their faces there seems to be much anger, listlessness, idleness, and the results of a very hard life.

It was very hard to speak with them because of the language barrier, and most of these images were not posed - rather I was looking to catch a moment of time- without their presenting me with themselves- I tried to capture a feeling and something of their everyday life


Cowrie Mask

Door of No Return
KAREN NASH: Artist's Statement

Queen of SippoIn West Africa, the ubiquitous baobab is considered the Tree of Life, because so many elements of the tree are used and consumed in daily life - the fruit, leaves, wood, sap - the baobab is the gift that keeps on giving. It's a succulent, storing water during the rainy season and producing nourishing fruit in the dry season. In West Africa, hollows in ancient baobabs have sometimes served as living tombs for griots, the revered poet-historians who record and preserve the oral tradition of the people in their songs. Rooted in the ancient earth of Mother Africa, baobabs are enormous, majestic, powerful, and (to me) profoundly maternal - I suspect the Home Tree in the movie Avatar was inspired by the baobab.

The Senegalese women I've met are much like the baobab: welcoming and nurturing. It is the elder women who adopt us foreignIFAN Mask women, giving us names (mine is Khady) that make us members of the family. I was commonly addressed as "my sister", accepted as part of the big collective family. In my work for this show, I'm striving to capture a sense of the warmth, wisdom, and beauty of the people of West Africa, particularly the magnificent women.

In my work for this show, I've stayed true to the African way of using what's on hand. Aside from a few nuts and bolts, all the materials I've used in my assemblages were already waiting around my house until I found a use for them. Some of the greatest joys of the process were those "aha!" moments of discovery. 


ASTOU DIOUM / DIOUM BASKET: Artist's Statement


Buy A Basket Change A Life

Dioum Basket is a project with the objective of empowering the Women of West Africa. These women possess an amazing Craft-manship through basket making. Dioum Basket is trying to help them exploit their talent to not only be able to make a living, but also progress to achieve their dreams. Dioum Basket is trying to create a global marketplace to exhibit these amazing artwork of these West African Women, when you support Dioum Basket through your purchases you will become part of the success of this noble idea that will change the lives of thousands of West African Women. All the proceeds of Dioum Basket Project are allocated directly to hiring, training and mentoring Basket Makers to develop their skills.baskets


Can utilize the Baskets for endless tasks around the house including laundry hampers, fruits & bread containers, storage for shoes, toys, blankets, pillows, decorated shelves while containing your make-up, hair dryer, perfume, lotion, jewelry, magazines and much more. Can also utilize the Basket for a good number of out-door activities, Food and Grocery, Beach & Picnic containers, handbags to carry-on personal items and much more, the basket are Natural, Durable, Washable, and have a pleasant smell.