We met Alice and Tom from Origin Africa almost by accident… Not completely true; in their search of cotton fabric, cultivated and produced in The Gambia, they were directed to Footsteps Eco Lodge to look for our resident weaver Osman Sambou. They found him, and The Cotton Trail as well! Since then, they have been big supporters of The Cotton Trail and vice versa, and now ORIGIN Africa has challenged our Cotton Trail Artists!
ORIGIN Africa is a 100% not-for-profit fashion brand. As they say, “Ordinary Won´t Change The World”! All of their profit is being fed back to countries they work in (Mali, Ethiopia, Togo and The Gambia). Here they support a long range of different projects, including partially funded a well needed borehole in our farmers village up country. Do check out their products and the good work they do here.
This summer ORIGIN reached to us, as they had started to work on their new product-line. They had a challenge in mind for our Cotton Trail Artists! An art competition, where the winner would get their artwork as part of ORIGIN´s new product-line!
All of the artists were able to submit two pieces of artwork, within the following framework;
All of the submission were sent to ORIGIN. They did the first screening process and selected four pieces of art that would proceed to the next stage of the competition; the public voting on ORIGIN´s instagram. When ORIGIN Africa challenged our Cotton Trail Artists, the artists jumped on it straight away!
Amadou Barry: Faces of Life
Amadou (top left) is 37-year-old from Wellingara in Gambia. He is married with three boys, and says he loves to see things differently from the way others see them – which is where his inspiration comes from.
He is a self-taught artist who has loved drawing ever since he was young. Amadou’s design shows three faces in one, which was inspired by the three stages of life: youth, adolescence and old age.
“I used to watch cartoons at that time and as a result I came to love drawing some of the animations seen in these movies. This was like an inspiration gained from these movies and the environment in which I lived.”
Ngagne (Gabi) Thiandourm: The Brave Woman
Gabi (top right) was born in Senegal and lived in Dakar in his teenage years where he worked as a Mason’s apprentice. The last year, Gabi has been living in Gunjur, The Gambia. He was always passionate about art, which led him to join the art collective in The Gambia.
His design depicts a traditionally-dressed African woman, and is a celebration of her strength.
The drawing speaks of the bravery of the African woman, and shows the African woman getting up early in the morning to carry water to the village before the sun rises. That which I love most about art is that it allows me to speak freely about my thoughts. Art showed me lots of things, like how to be calm, and it facilitated me meeting generous people.
Anta Ceesay: Beautiful Fula
Anta (bottom left) is a Gambian artist who has designed a tribal-inspired piece for the competition. She is 22-year-old lives in Kotu in The Gambia with her family. She was graduated from Apple Tree School and is now studying fashion and design. Having the opportunity to design a t-shirt for ORIGIN will be a great stepping stone in her career!
Anta’s design is inspired by the Fula tribe – the markings depicting the cuts traditionally made to women’s faces as a sign of beauty. The cowrie shells also represent the tribe as these are commonly worn in women’s hair.
I get inspired from the beautiful tattoos of Fula’s face from their traditional women’s looks.
Zina Zoker: The Strength of the African Elephant
Zina (bottom right) Zoker is 24 and originally from Liberia. He is the sixth out of seven children – but the only artist in his family. He came to The Gambia in 2003 as a refugee and studied architectural draftsmanship at The Gambia Technical Training institute. His passion has always been for art!
Zina loves having control over his ideas and how he expresses his feelings through art, and he hopes to show the beauty of Africa to the rest of the world.
The concept of the elephant [in the piece] is inspired by the strength of Africa, as it is an African giant. The patterns depict real Africa – the green and yellow showing growth of the African culture and the brighter side of it.
The winner of the ORIGIN competition for our Cotton Trail Artists
The voting took place on Instagram and among ORIGIN´s followers. All artists had their contribution shared and explained. The final winner…
Cotton Trail Artist Mr Amadou Barry!
Congratulations to Amadou!! The finalists and all of the contributions from our artists! Thank you to ORIGIN Africa for giving us the opportunity!