“The Barray” Art Group, a consortium of Sierra Leonean artists, is organising a week long art exhibition to showcase the beauty of the country’s arts heritage. The event which is taking place at the Toma precinct at Aberdeen commenced on Thursday 3rd December 2020 and will end 13th December 2020, and opens from 12:00 PM each day.
The exhibition, themed; ‘In Black We Trust’, attracted art lovers locally and from the diaspora with magnificent display of art works on wood, batik fabric, glass and other artistic materials. Explaining the significance of the theme, the co-founder and artist of ‘The Barray’, Hawa Jane Bangura, said they contemplated on naming it the 9th Art Exhibition.
“We are trying to reawaken our black consciousness and African contribution to world history and civilisation. If we know who we are we can behave differently and respect each other better,” the artist cum lawyer averred. She furthered, “We have started this exhibition since 2016, and next year we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the exhibition which will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence,” adding: “Ancient African history must be mandatory in schools. We should use art to speak out against black inferiority, by letting our people know of our great heroes of the past like the Pharaohs, Mansa’s, and Kings of old.”
The only glass artist in the country, Ranya Nirva (nee Abess El-Ali), a Sierra Leonean said she used time, energy and ingenuity to create her art work. “I draw on the glass using liquid paint. Using bright colours, I try to depict the struggle of the African woman, the beauty of Sierra Leone in my work,” she noted.
Meanwhile, an art lover and artist visiting the exhibition, Kadija Musa explained how the beauty of art can affect the soul and spirit of the beholder. “Every art is unique. The imperfection in them as a whole brings out the beauty in an art. The looseness of the work sometimes brings out its perfection. The meaning that the art carries or brings out the feeling in you, the craft, the time, the skills and idea of an art captivates your mind and transform you and transport you to where the artist wants you to be and see. This makes art like a religion which can condition your thinking and behavior,” she said.
Musa called on the artist and the authorities to popularise art in the country to create the appreciation of beauty in the minds of the people. “An art keeps the balance of the mind and soul and conveys history, adds value to one’s life and knowledge and regulates emotions. We should hold art parades like gay pride parades in Europe,” she said.
Another co-founder of the Barray, Tindae Feika, highlighted the challenges they face as a group to popularise arts in the country. “We are the only group that promotes art at this level. The former art galleries are closed. We lack finance and structure such as a secretariat to coordinate our work. Most of us are having other jobs and that is also affecting us. The logistics to set up art exhibitions is another constraint,” he said, adding they promote their work through social media and have plans to expand to the provinces.
The Art Exhibition which will end on Sunday 13th December 2020, saw works from Hawa Jane Bangura “Know Thy Self”; Ashley Taylor, “Portraits Obama and Kenema Clock Tower” from ball pen; Julius Parker, “Market Series and Rihanna”; and Ranya Nirva with her glass paintings of Map of Africa, African Women and Pottery. DT/11/12/2020
By David Thoronka