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West Africa Wants To Portray You - A Barber Sign In Benin

WEST AFRICA WANTS TO PORTRAY YOU

18 March 2018, Grand-Popo

We are launching Salon de Peinture Grand-Popo today.

The world-famous visual artist Riiko Sakkinen came to visit the village of Grand-Popo in Benin, West Africa, and met Gustavo Afaihoun, a local jack-of-all-trades. Sakkinen’s love for the hand painted signs in the streets, especially in barber and hairdresser parlors, transformed in their conversations to a business idea consisting of promoting this unique visual culture beyond the borders of Africa and create jobs in the humble village where most of the people live without running water and electricity.
Hand painted signs are vanishing soon - printing is faster, easier and cheaper. Our mission is to keep the pop art tradition alive.

Now you can have a piece of West Afirca on your wall. Order an authentic hairdresser sign with your portrait! A great gift idea. Or maybe you prefer a picture of your favorite actress, singer or politician? All signs feature the text Salon de Peinture Grand-Popo.

All we need is a photograph and our painters in Grand-Popo start creating your portrait. Conceptual smartness, aesthetic quality and fair trade are guaranteed.

The signs are painted with enamel on wooden board. The size is 50x60cm. The works are signed by the painter Price: 500€ including worldwide shipping.





Dinner After Dark - Spaghetti In Benin

DINNER AFTER DARK

14 March 2018, Grand-Popo

I will never forget today's dinner. My friend invited me to his house. His mother cooked us simple spaghetti with boiled eggs and chili. What impressed me was the happiness of the family and the pride they showed of their humble home made of natural fiber, the sand of the beach as the floor. They have neither running water nor electricity, the only source of light was the flashlight of my mobile phone.





A Clumsy Artist In Africa - The View From My Terrace

A CLUMSY ARTIST IN AFRICA

09 March 2018, Grand-Popo

When I did a residency in 2011 in Syria I sprained my ankle when dancing on table in an open-air discotheque in Aleppo. I thought that I was going to a fierce dictatorship and found myself in a wild multicultural party, which made me overexcited. After that I couldn’t walk for two weeks which limited my research and adventures.

Last Monday, I arrived in Grand-Popo, Benin, where I’m in a five-week residency at Villa Karo, a Finnish-African Cultural Center. The first thing I did was to fall down in a staircase and hurt my ankle again. This time there’s no interesting story to tell. I guess that this residency will consists basically of sitting in the terrace and watching impotently the ocean waves.





Sunny Mountains And Palm Trees - Euro-african Relations

SUNNY MOUNTAINS AND PALM TREES

01 March 2018, Pepino

Tes monts ensoleillés, tes palmiers, ta verdure,
Cher Bénin, partout font ta vive parure.
Ton sol offre à chacun la richesse des fruits.

The national anthem of Benin

I've traveled quite a lot but this time it's different. I never packed before these things:

- Insect repellent, 45% deet.
- Three different medicines for diarrhea
- Antimalarial medication
- International certificate of Vaccination (Yellow fever, typhoid fever, hepatitis A)
- Flashlight for power blackouts

On Monday, I'm off to Benin, West Africa. You could think that it's a big adventure but actually I'm going to a residency at Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center located in an idyllic fishing village and tourist resort in Grand-Popo. Being in Africa surrounded by Finns is a bit disturbing circumstance. They asked me to bring with me some rye bread but I told  that I live in Spain. Neither I'm traveling chorizo-laden. When in Benin, do as the Beninese do.







Riiko
Sakkinen
 

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