US-based Gambian’s arts work showcased
Thursday, May 31, 2012
National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on Monday, showcasedthe artistic work of Saihou Omar Njie,
a United States-based Gambian artist, at the Alliance Franco-Gambienne, along
the Kairaba Avenue.
The four-day exhibition is expected to expose the artistic talents of Njie; especially his works in batik and photography. Born in Banjul at No. 5 Stanley Street, Njie did his schooling in the country and then later in the U.S.A, where he now resides and teaches art.
hailed from a humble a family that encouraged the pursuit of knowledge and a
drive for excellence. As a child, he was fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of
‘big’ brothers who were at the time among the progressive youths of Banjul.
Those brothers were members of a club called ‘BBR’, and together with other
youth clubs like Raylets and Kent Street Vous, that were at the time the trend
setters, they served as role models for the younger ones.
always artistically inclined, but it was his older brother, Pa Babou, who was
the natural artist, very good at drawing and sketching. This fascinated Njie
and he kept himself busy observing his brother and also trying to copy his
drawings. As the days went by, Njie became more interested in all areas of art;
thus actively participating in various disciplines while in school.
He later travelled to the U.S.A and attended University in Upstate New York, where he studied Fine Arts and Literature. He would later get involved in the performing arts with other artists in Boston, Massachusetts, doing drumming and dancing, costume design and choreography.
artistic inspiration comes from this reflection of his experiences of living in
the U.S for most of his adult life and the realisation of the need to build
bridges, and create linkages between Africans on the continent and those in the
diaspora. His home
coming is part of a project he has undertaken to collect and assemble
photographic images of Africans and to find their look-alikes among the poll of
African – American images that he has already collected.
The project will take him to various countries in the sub-region, and it is his hope that by the end of the exercise, enough matches will be found. His findings will then be showcased during a National Tour in the U.S.A when he returns later this summer.
Saihou Omar Njie is currently teaching art with the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts. This is a project that focuses on the teaching of arts in schools and encourages all schools to include art in their curriculum. His batik work is a hereditary skill from his mother, who was one of the early Banjulians to engage in the tie and dye technique.
Author: Mahtarr E. Njai