Le SIAO (Salon international d’artisanat de Ouagadougou), au Burkina Faso, est un véritable trésors d’artisanats.
SIAO Burkina Faso, a treasure trove of African crafts.
It’s been said, more than once, that the best way to carry off one of our fabulous giant cowery necklaces is to wear virtually nothing else with it…. we fully concur, but would like to add that they work equally well on a simple black dress or cotton t-shirt. Who would imagine such an impressive piece of jewelry could be so versitile? This cowery creation is made by Ishmail, a charming jewelry maker in Ouaga. He’s even happy to do alterations or repairs, but with 4000 Kilometers between Paris and Burkina Faso’s capital things can take a bit of time.
Since the very beginning of Storie we’ve sold a range of fabulous craft from Burkina Faso, including these cowery shell necklaces; almost sculptural in size and form. It’s thanks to friends and family of Storie, who live and travel to and from the capital Ouagadougou, that we’ve been able to tap into this great source of beautiful stuff, such as traditional jewelry, tureg leatherwork, bronze sculpture, wood carving and hand woven textiles.
It didn’t take much convincing for us to head to the country ourselves to explore what Burkina Faso had to offer, and to check out the 2012 SIAO (Le Salon International de L Artisanat de Ouagadougou http://www.siao.bf/ ), a pan African craft fair which takes place in Ougadougou once every two years.
The SIAO was set up to promote African handicrafts and seemed a good opportunity for Storie to learn a bit more about different types of craft being made across the continent, and to meet some of the people making it.
The SIAO was packed with of beautiful things from South Africa up to DRC, and it was a pretty successful shopping excursion for Storie. At times, the exhibition felt more like a huge Sunday market than a professional fair. Many stall holders seemed more interested in shifting stock there and then, than in making contacts to continue working with. The organisation of the event left a lot to be desired, with SIAO opening a day and a half later than billed. Issues which were a shame both for those exhibiting and visiting.
All that said, the expereince was very positive, with lots of potential; there is tremendous tallent amongst the crafts people of Burkina Faso alone, not to mention the wealth of skill shown by the many exhibitors from further afield. Burkina Faso gave us the warmest of welcomes, and we’re looking forward to the next trip, perhaps for SIAO 2014 ……
SIAO home page http://www.siao.bf/
RFI on SIAO http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20121105-burkina-faso-fin-13e-edition-siao