Whilst doing my research about aspects of Senegalese culture that I could use in my practice, I think one of the main ideas that I was drawn to was the modes of transport in Senegal. The public buses are known as carrapides and the local fishing boats are known as pirogues. From a young age, I’ve always loved the vivid colours of these buses and boats and to me, they are one of the most unique and distinguishing features about Senegal.
And I did a few sketches of some pictures I took of them whilst I was in Senegal over Christmas.
I was particularly interested in the pirogues as artisanal fishing is still the main type of fishing in Senegal. I also have a strong personal link to them as a mode of transport as my mother has always taken pride and told us about the history of fishermen in our family.
I was intrigued by how the paintings were designed, as although from afar they look quite similar, all the pirogues have different names, personalisations and motifs.
An interview with a painter of the pirogues (https://www.au-senegal.com/bet-les-yeux-des-pirogues,13837.html?lang=fr). The drawings on the pirogue are called “Bet” in Wolof, which translates to Eyes. Painter Tala Mbaye grew up watching the painters of the pirogues and as a painter, he said his inspiration for every pirogue varies. The owner chooses the name of the pirogue, which is often named after wives, cousins or sisters. At times they will put symbols into the boat which are meant to bring luck. They also often put the flag on the front and the back of the pirogue with the name in the middle.
This video gave me a valuable insight into how I would go about creating my own design for a pirogue