Dakar Street Weavers

An artisan specialized in the dyeing technique of batik, Abdoulaye Kande also represents a cooperative of weavers in Dakar in Senegal. In addition to suggesting motifs for the cloths, he contributes to the promotion and commercialization of local artisan textiles.
Dakar offers very few spaces dedicated to artisanal activity and a large portion of Kande’s ateliers are outside in the streets. This “artisan village” is the only site in the city that gathers together the numerous embodiments of craftwork: artists, painters, sculptors, potters, jewelry-makers, antique dealers…
Between them, a cultural heritage is proudly transmitted from generation to generation between the Pepels, the sole ethnic group guarding the weaving techniques for non-religious decorative cloths. Often illiterate and uneducated, they work under precarious conditions because orders are somewhat rare; the Senegalese tend to no longer use such cloth except for certain religious rituals, the practice of which is dwindling.
Beyond this sacred usage, these clothes carry the possibility of richness for weavers. Their use in clothing, interior furnishing and decoration can afford to their creators improved living conditions. It is in this spirit that Kande’s artisans have decided to organize and create a cooperative through which new, more professionalized ventures can effectively optimize their production.
“We have realized that the modern world of clothing, nostalgic for the past, demonstrates the need to reconnect with styles of traditional weaving. Because of this, a return to our indigenous know-how is required. It is a precious legacy. It is our responsibility to save, enhance and promote it.”