Road Warriors of the Art World

The visit of Oumar Cisse from Mali on June 29, 2014 at Zawadi reminded me once again what road warriors African artists are and the extremes they go to get their products to an audience.  This is true of many of the other artists we have featured here at Zawadi but I am especially taken by many of the artists I’ve met and maintained relationships with over the years.  Oumar (just one example ) has come to America almost every summer carrying with him huge suitcases and bags.  The shear weight of these items is daunting and he has numerous destinations, not just one.  His visits to Zawadi this time composed of five bags, fewer than usual.  There was a bag of mud cloths, a bag of leather purses and the rest bags of jewelry, all heavy.  I do the invite, we both hope for a good turn out but there is no guarantee.  Anything might intervene, small or large, in the winter snow, in the summer a bad thunderstorm, or a festival that blocks road and so it is a tenuous life.  My thanks  go out  to Oumar and all his brethren who travel the dusty roads of Africa carrying their bags and their hopes; who go to France and England and America and so many other places where the level of skill  put into their product is not recognized and often not respected.

Oumar Cisse Visit




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