- Djibril N'Doye: Reflecting on Traditions of Senegal
- Dominic Angarano: Exploring Native American Traditions
- Ilanna Sharon Mandel: A Passion for Art and Peace
- Antique Folk Art of Russia and Austria
Artist Djibril N'Doye is from Bargny, Senegal on the West
African coast. Djibril looks to his childhood to understand his
country, remember his past, and discover himself, and his art reflects
that intellectual and emotional journey.
Djibril emigrated to the United States in 1995, where he is currently residing in Sierra Madre, California. Not a year had gone by for Djibril in the United States before one of his works--a ballpoint pen drawing, Taking Root and Blossoming--was selected for the program cover of the National Council of Black Studies 20th Annual National Conference held in Washington, D.C., in November 1996. His artworks are in collections throughout West Africa, the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Western Europe, and Japan.
Although he is a self-taught artist, Djibril's work is by no means folk
art. Nor, although his works reflect traditional themes, could his work
be termed traditional art. The sophistication and originality of his
style are remarkable; the grace and elegance striking; and the rhythm
and movement of his compositions compelling.
The thoughtfully written captions accompanying the images here are not only helpful but most enjoyable. Taken from Djibril's very professional website designed by his wife Mary, the captions are the key to unlocking for us his artistic process and sensibilities, which reflect his cultural origins.
Unlike so many artists who one day 'discovered' pyrography, Djibril always knew about pyrography in Senegal, where it is a decorative and ritual art technique. Nevertheless, he started working in oil painting and watercolors, then developed his very successful ballpoint pen technique, explored charcoal, and only in recent years decided to develop his own technique in pyrography: "I like that I can do an art work with only one tool," he remarks, "I think because it is something simple it has made me go farther in my art."
Enjoy a 'virtual tour' of Senegal as seen through the eyes of Djibril N'Doye, one of that country's outstanding artists.
(Sifting Couscous Flour)
Danse à la calebasse
Triage au riz
(Sorting the rice)
Pyrography on birch wood panels
Images courtesy of the artist
Another vital aspect of Djibril N'Doye's art is its universality. While viewing his art and reading his reflections on his life in Senegal, we not only learn about the customs and society of his Senegal but are confronted with the memories of so many social customs in our own communities that have been all but forgotten as we have allowed and still allow technological and commercial influences to reshape the very structure and core values of our modern society.
"Much of my recent work," Djibril explains, "has been created by burning my drawings on wood, but this technique is not new to me. In the environment where I grew up, decorative woodburning is called todjal. That is for those who want to show respect for, and to purify, an implement or vessel before use. The handles of hoes and pickaxes are passed through fire before use. The milk-filled calabashes of sellers at the market are always decorated with a motif comprised of geometric designs, which give them a very traditional look. The firewood, which is used every day, carries burn marks that to me are very interesting and artistic. My technique of woodburning is not only an extension of that which is done decoratively in Africa, but I am pushing myself to take it to a deeper level and greater dimensions."
To continue your virtual tour of Senegal as seen through the eyes and
art of Djibril N'Doye, visit his E-Museum Salon.
The images and captions for this segment as well as for the Djibril N'Doye E-Museum Salon were excerpted from Djibril's own website, designed and maintained by Mary Martin N'Doye: www.djibrilndoye.com. You can contact the artist by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2003, Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.