As ASSET Warms Up for Major Exhibition

Monday, September 3, 2007

Invites Entries to Arts & Craft Competition

In a bid to encourage more innovations in the arts and craft industry and revive the flagging fortunes of artists and artisans selling their handiworks to tourists in The Gambia, the Association of Small-Scale Enterprises in Tourism, better known as ASSET, is inviting arts and craft entries that will form part of an exhibition from 18 to 24 October 2007, with particular emphasis on freshness of ideas (originality) and presentation.

The competition, which will be held at ASSET’s Cultural Encounters located on the first floor of the Timbooktoo building along Garba Jahumpa road between October 15 and 18, 2007, looks forward to attracting artists and people involved in the business of carving objects into shapes and designing materials into decorative works, targeting tourists as prospective buyers.

ASSET’s rationale behind the idea is to challenge artists and artisans to go soul-searching for fresh ideas that will give originality and quality in the end-product of their works. Such a competition is intended to whet the appetite of the average Gambian artist to explore new ideas that will help them produce more quality. Products for the consuming tourists. The wisdom in boosting the overall standard of art products intended for the tourist. Industry could not have come at a more challenging time, when potential buyers of these products have become more critical and demanding. It is hardly easy to discount the charge that year after year, the lack of originality for carvings, designs and paintings, has had little or no inspirational touch of note for those who should be buying them with keen interest.

Two years ago, the first such competition had sparked off a debate over what is available as exportable Gambian art and what an increasingly choosy flock of tourists wants as prized artifacts from Gambia. Such observations of Gambian art usually come from departed tourists to friends and would-be guests whose appetite for “made in The Gambia” products of art are as a result, reduced before their arrival. What ASSET wants is a complete revival in Gambian art, to excite keener interest in products from the indigenous art industry - an interest which by its reckoning should endure well beyond the sell-by date of the average holiday package to The Gambia. Art in whatever form is a living tissue, nourish it with originality and it glistens with life. Starve it with stagnant ideas and it suffers death. In line with this concept of revival ASSET’s Product Development Committee are looking for entries into two categories of the competition namely, the practical genre, which could include any item or body of items that may be of practical use to the beneficiary, and the decorative category, which may include any item or body of items that appeals to the sensual characters of man.

The first prize for each category is a cash award of D10, 000 with the right to a FREE STAND at the October 3 1st 2007, MBOKA tourism fair in Dakar, Senegal, thrown into the bargain. The second prize for both categories is D5, 000.

The competition, whose entry forms are available at ASSET’s Garba-Jahumpa office for D50, has a set of rules, which prospective competitors must abide by namely: product must be made in The Gambia and should be submitted to the ASSET office between 8 - 12 October, 2007, more than one product can be submitted by a competitor, products can be made of any material or a combination of more than one material, competitors should recognize the committee’s right to admit entries based on its judgement of what is new and of acceptable quality. Also as part of its rules is the acceptance by competitors that products must be made available in the entire duration of the exhibition, which will end on October 24th, Between October 15 and 18, 2007, a panel of judges will determine the winners who will be duly notified.

Source: The Point