News of the Alliance

Contemporary Gambia

Alfajo’s Art exhibition slated for the 14th February, 2019 at Alliance Française of Banjul themed “Contemporary Gambia”

Contemporary Gambia

Alfajo’s Art exhibition “Contemporary Gambia” will feature recent paintings that mainly depict the day-to-day Gambia we all experience, irrespective of our economic or social class. “Contemporary Gambia” is an attempt to capture modern day Gambia and her challenges. In the Artist’s view, showcasing works that exhibit our daily challenges presents a special opportunity to reflect upon our past and channel a brighter future. The world is changing constantly and The Gambia is not an exception to this reality.

Alfajo Jallow is a young social activist and a painter, who strongly believes in the power of storytelling. As an awarding winning artist from African Youth Excellence (AYE) in 2014, Alfajo continues to use art to celebrate Africa’s history and story in a manner that tries to show the beauty in it, despite centuries of injustice, which over the years, leaves many of us with a very sad and negative image of the continent. Currently, Alfajo is a final year student at Fordham University with a concentration in International Political Economy. Many will wonder- why is he studying Economics and International Politics? He believes, for Africa’s story to be seen, heard and respected, those that want to tell the continent’s story need to understand not just the historical evolution of the continent, but the role it plays in our global economy, thus, its positioning in the political affairs of the world. As a young self-taught African artist, he knows Africa will need more than just art to grow, however, art can be used as another platform, just like any other academic concentration, to foster massive growth in the continent, but more importantly, to enable us tell “our” stories, hopes, dreams and aspirations from our “own” perspective, as no one can tell Africa’s true story more than Africans themselves.
In 2015, Alfajo did his study abroad in South Africa at the University of Pretoria where he focused on Poverty and Economic Development. As part of his service learning component, Alfajo saw an opportunity to incorporate his academic concentration together with art, by starting an ongoing art project- Art for Hope, that lets kids of Soshanguve, a township close to the city, tell their stories through using recyclable materials from around the community to create art. Alfajo has also partnered and sign contracts with the City University of New York to enable students tell their stories and experiences living and working in New York City. A refreshing and an eye opening experience for the young painter.
In the Gambia, Alfajo has held several art exhibitions, notably among them are “The Calabash Homeland Series” and “The Forgotten Stones and the Unforgettable Political impasse” 2016 and 2017 respectively. The exhibits featured works of the young painter themed on what is perhaps Gambia’s most prestigious physical cultural heritage, the Stone Circles, hopefully rekindling excitement about these locally under-appreciated UNESCO World Heritage relics. A sub-theme during the exhibition focused on brining memories of what is arguably The Gambia’s most tense and precarious period in her political evolution- The Impasse. Several works the artist are also themed on the calabash a significant aspect of African culture, particularly, around the Sene-Gambia region.
Alfajo continues to work with different organizations like Korfoundation (USA/Nigeria ) Children Education Alliance Inc. (USA/Guinea Conakry) African Youth Excellence (USA/Africa) and Shared Interest (USA/ Southern Africa) in ensuring that Africa’s story is heard and felt.