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Profiles in Nigerien Artisanry: The Artists of Niamey
The Niger Artisans Project consists of 12 candid conversations with artisans working in Niamey, Niger. The artisans featured here fall into a category more closely related to the corresponding Hausa term ma’aikatan hannu, or people who work with their hands. This broader definition resulted in a group of interviewees ranging from a vendor who re-purposed old tires to a fashion designer.
The videos are intended for an advanced Hausa curriculum and are accompanied by a transcript in both the Latin and Ajami script. They allow the students to step out of the regimented classroom dialogues and into a realistic representation of a Nigerien Hausa speaking community. There are regional dialects, non-native speakers, and instances of code switching. These attributes will prepare students for the challenges of learning a language spoken in a multilingual environment. Along with the linguistic component, these videos also provide rich cultural content that will allow students to engage in more advanced conversations. Each interview covers basic information such as the artist’s biography, and a description of his work and tools. From this point the interview takes its own direction based on the speaker’s interests. These more complex individual stories touch upon themes such as tradition and modernity, a fledgling economy, tourism, and creative expression.
For the sake of structuring a curriculum, the artisans are divided into three categories. These are accompanied by an interview with Yazi Dogo, a Nigerien actor, about the arts and cultures of Niger. His theater troupe is also featured in the Hausa Proverbs Project. The three categories of artisans are:
- The National Museum of Niger Artisans
- The Wadata Market Vendors
- The Independent/Freelance Artisans
Thematically, the narratives intersect each other in various ways, and we encourage both the students and teachers to explore these intersections. Helpful questions to think about when approaching these interviews are:
- How did the artisans learn their craft?
- Why did they learn it?
- Where do they practice their craft, and why?
- What are some of the challenges they face? How do these differ among the artists?
The National Museum of Niger Artisans
Interview 1: Illia Addoh – Museum Director
The Wadata Market Vendors
Interview 7: Ɗan Iya – Woven Chair Vendor
The Freelance Artisans
Interview 9: Maryama Ibrahim – Hair Braider
Interview 13: Yazi Dogo
Lori De Lucia (Filming, Production, Editing, Web Design) John Hutchison (Conception and Coordination) Yazi Dogo (Ajami Transcription Coordinator) Mansour Yazi Dogo (Production Assistant) Ibro Chekaraou (Latin Transcription) Jessica Choi (Photography) Peter Quella (Project Administrator)
Copyright: All elements of the Profiles in Nigerien Artisanry Project website architecture, including without limitation, the text, software and graphics, are owned by or licensed to Boston University, subject to copyright and other intellectual property rights under United States copyright and trademark laws, and applicable foreign laws. These elements may not be published, broadcast, or otherwise distributed without the prior written permission of Boston University.