Fossl Talk: Street Art by West African Sign Painters

Venue: Stony Stratford Library, 5-7 Church Street, Stony Stratford MK11 1BDStony Stratford Library, 5-7 Church Street, Stony Stratford MK11 1BD
Date: 01 Dec 2022
Time: 19:00

The next FoSSL (Friends of Stony Stratford Library) talk will be on Thursday 1st December at 7pm in Stony Stratford Library (first floor). Our speaker will be Tony Kaye and the subject will be West African Street Art. Tony is a resident of Stony Stratford - here is a brief bio:

Tony Kaye moved to Milton Keynes when he joined the Open University in 1970. From 1973-1975, on sabbatical leave from the OU , he worked as Coordinator of the External Evaluation Unit of the Ivory Coast Educational TV programme, attached to the Ministery of Education in Abidjan. During that time, and on subsequent visits to Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Senegal, he became fascinated by the vibrancy amd variety of the work of local sign painters. On retiring from the OU, he has maintained an interest in the region as a Board member (and French>English translator) of the French/Burkinabe NGO, Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN) promoting a market for eco-construction, affordable housing, and earth architecture in five countries of the Sahel.

Here is Tony's description of the talk:

Ici Bon Coiffeur - Street Art by West African Sign painters

Since the 1960’s there has been a massive rural exodus in West African countries to the overcrowded towns and cities.  For many new arrivals, the street becomes a main focus of daily life, supplying a wide range of essential daily needs, met by individual entrepreneurs and small family businesses operating in an informal economy. Many of these petits commerces commissioned sign painters to promote their services to a predominantly illiterate clientele, resulting in a flowering of inventive and colourful street art, painted on plywood boards or on the walls of the traders’ premises. This talk is a commented slide show of over 100 images of such signs, often including creative use of text, painted for hairdressers (very relevant in Stony!), bars, restaurants, photographers, tailors, mechanics, musicians etc. from Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Togo, and Cameroon. 

Tickets for the talk will be available from the Library from Tuesday 8th November. Please do not ask the Librarians for them before that date, as they will be unable to help you.

Please see the poster below with some examples of the colourful work that Tony will be talking about. We are also hoping that he will be able to show you physical examples of the work so that you can see them in their full glory. I am sure that this will be a fascinating talk on a most unusual topic and one to brighten a gloomy Stony Stratford evening. As usual there will be the opportunity to socialise after the talk and enjoy our hospitality with wine, soft drinks and home made cake. 

Kathy Luff
FOSSL Secretary
poster advertising the fossl talk on west african sign painters


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