Women’s museum for The Gambia

For the first time in the history of art and culture of the country, a women’s museum has been  established.

This somewhat rare and spirited museum is run and coordinated by Isha Fofana, a renowned Gambian female artist and coordinator of Mama Africa Art Gallery, located right on the first junction of Brusubi roundabout. The women’s museum is located in Batokunku village, Kombo South of the Western Region (WR). The project upon completion will host and serve as an archive for the life efforts and makings of women in Africa from pre-colonial, colonial, Independence and post Independence era.

The first Gambian women’s museum is expected among other things  to the give voice, recognise talents, achievements and aspiration of women in The Gambia, Africa and the world at large. The museum is also expected to be totally different from other women’s museums found in other African countries such as Senegal, Mali and Sudan. This is due to the character and style the museum will adopt in terms of artefacts and historical documentations on lives and roles of women over centuries.

The Gambian artist recently returned from the Republic of Germany,where she resided for the past couple of years. She returned in response to the Gambian leader’s call for Gambians in the diaspora  to invest back home. Isha Fofana held series of arts exhibitions within and outside Germany. She is widely acclaimed for her spirited artistic work and talent used mostly towards promoting arts and culture in Africa and beyond, especially The Gambia.

Isha Fofana, in a recent chat with the Arts and Culture at the site of the newly built women’s museum in Batokunku,Western Region (WR), spoke  extensively on the aims and objectives of the museum, her life as a female artist both in The Gambia and the Republic of Germany, and the arts and culture industry of The Gambia. The female artist explained that the women’s museum project aimed among other things towards promoting the welfare of the under-privileged girls and women in The Gambia, Africa and the world at large. 

To serve as a research and skills training centre for both men and women, especially school going girls in the areas of painting, drawing, batik, clay making among others. The project is  also meant to promote the spirit of arts and culture, education, tourism and create  employment opportunities for youths in the country. “Women’s museum or museums are still very rare in Africa. The idea is however quite different from normal museums and this difference will hopefully generate interesting and topical issues in Africa and beyond. “A new thing is born in The Gambia and I am  appealing to all Gambians to work hard in good faith and move the country to where it ought to be. The arts and culture industry is doing quite well but a lot remains to be done, in terms of discovering talents and creativity,”  she said.

Isha Fofana spoke extensively on the purpose for establishing the women’s museum project. According to her, empowerment of women has always been part and parcel of life” . I am doing all I can towards empowerment of women in The Gambia and beyond such was the idea behind establishing a women’s museum right here at Batokunku, which would serve as a research and training centre for both sexes, especially the school going girls. I am extremely enjoying what I am doing as an artist and I will do what I can and the rest will follow. A lot has been done in the arts and culture industry of the country, but a lot more needs to be done. interms of discovering talents and creativity among the youths.The museum project will impact possitively on the tourism sector of the country,” she said.

The Gambian female artist further explained that the museum will greatly expose people to life, role and activities of women over centuries ago. She therefore called on the general public to contribute their quota towards achieving the objectives of the museum by bringing in detailed information about their great personalities both alive and dead. According to the museum’s coordinator, these photos and information will be displayed within the museum for public inspection. Photographs of people like the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs , Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy will be on display in the museum.

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