Gambia braces up for fine arts festival


The Gambia is set to host the first ever Banjul Fine Arts festival, scheduled to take place from the 4th to 17th of January 2010 at the Alliance Franco Gambienne, along the Kairaba Avenue.

As part of activities geared towards the successful hosting of the sub-regional festival, the organising committee of the festival recently paid a courtesy call on Momodou Joof, director general of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), in his Banjul office. Joof received the committee comprising artists and journalists, on behalf of Madam Nancy Njie, minister of Tourism and Culture and the NCAC.

Yuspalkala, a renowned artist and coordinator of the Banjul Fine Arts festival, gave a detailed overview of the festival, its aims and objectives as well as its perceived impact on The Gambian arts and culture.  Yuspalkala told DG Joof that the meeting was meant to brief officials of the ministry and the centre about the festival and to inform them of their desire to work with them. He added that the program will bring together participants from The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, and other countries in the sub-region and beyond.

“The festival aims to promote the development and preservation of the spirit of arts and culture in The Gambia, and to explore the potentials of both young and experienced artists. The programme is also meant to serve both as a meeting point for the participating artists and a breeding ground for prospective ones,” he explained to the NCAC director general. As a mark of appreciation, Yuspalkala, on behalf of the organising committee, presented the symbol of the festival to Madam Nancy Njie through Momodou Joof.

Ebrima Jobarteh, manager of the Kanbeng Traditional Dance Group of Brikama, Western Region (WR), spoke at length on the role of artists in any given community. Jobarteh expressed the hope that the Banjul Fine Arts festival will be a success. “The Gambia, as a developing country needs such programmes to boost the morales of artists and arts lovers. Artists contribute significantly towards human, political and economic development of communities,” he said. For his part, Momodou Joof thanked the committee for the visit. He described the idea as a step in the right direction and assured the organising committee of the support of both his Centre and the Culture ministry. 


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