Harouna Ouedraogo paints intricate faces.
His art represents his African heritage and is part of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show that for eight years has been showcasing art from the African continent.
“A lot of people have not seen art like this,” said Harouna Ouedraogo, an African artist featured in show. “The faces I create are very unique”.
Because of the uniqueness of African art, it has manifested an audience that craves this intriguing type of creativity.
The African Art Village features a wide variety of visual art and sculpture. All of the paintings, sculptures and trinkets are handcrafted. The reason for such a high demand in these items are for their aesthetic value as well as the tradition that is tied to them.
Taa Bully Kaarhyour, an African sculptor, believes that the sculptures he creates are an ode to his ancestors and past relatives.
“We will make these sculptures just as our ancestors did,” said Taa Bully Kaarhyour. “Our culture is seen through these [items] and people like to learn more about it.”
African art uses a variety of colors, patterns and textures. Sculptures are mostly composed of wood and ceramic material. These materials are relatively cheap and is common to see in African artwork.
Ouedraogo believes that because of its unique look, the African Art Village has become a distinct portion of the Gem and Mineral Show.
“African art has its own style,” said Ouedraogo. “There are some people who this is their first time seeing African masks in person and are amazed because it it so exotic from what they are used to seeing.”
Rachel Castaneda, a frequent visitor, emphasizes the emblematic changes within the show as it embraces more than just rocks and stones but also for visual and contemporary art.
“I have been coming here for four to five years,” said Castaneda. “Every year there will be more people that came from the previous year- not just rock lovers, but all kinds of people”.
“You see people who have no idea what they are looking at but they are still interested,” Castaneda said. “I’ll see kids from the U of A, I will talk to on-lookers and they will be in awe and say they are masterpieces”.
Ryan Bertrand is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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