7 days in the North and North-West. A story that will be split in two episodes.

Foumban, city in the West Region, and considered by the Cameroonians as the “City of Arts”. Visit of the creative village, Mangouet, guided by our friend Abdoulaye.


Foumban. Carte du Cameroun.

Foumban, its mosque, its marketplace, and in the back, on the left, the Royal Palace of the actual Bamoun King: Njoya …

Foumban, its mosque, its marketplace, and in the back, on the left, the Royal Palace of the actual Bamoun King: Njoya …

On the other side, the city. The green area, on the back, on the right is the place we’re going to …

On the other side, the city. The green area, on the back, on the right is the place we’re going to …

Detail on an engraving of a door of the Royal Palace.

Detail on an engraving of a door of the Royal Palace.

Let’s go to Mangouet, neighborhood of Arts.

Palm Oil Extraction

First meeting: the women who are preparing palm oil.
Among the many species of palm trees, there is one which produces fruits with a pulp rich in oil. The fruits are first squeezed with water, and the blend is then heated to extract the vegetable oil.

The fruits are first squeezed, the juice mixed with water …

The fruits are first squeezed, the juice mixed with water …

… and the women press the fruits a second time, by hand, to clean them and get the maximum of them.

… and the women press the fruits a second time, by hand, to clean them and get the maximum of them.

The blend of water and oil is then heated to separate the two. The palm oil takes its red color at this moment.

Pottery

Later, the visit continues with the area of the potters.

The clay is prepared with a piece of palm tree wood, to unbend it …

The clay is prepared with a piece of palm tree wood, to unbend it …

It is then shaped.

It is then shaped.

Each piece is dried under the sun (on the left), and cooked twice (in the center and on the right).

Each piece is dried under the sun (on the left), and cooked twice (in the center and on the right).

Decorated and painted by hand, they will go through the oven one last time …

Decorated and painted by hand, they will go through the oven one last time …

… to take their final tint.

… to take their final tint.

At another potter’s, we discover these beautiful pieces, inlaid with bronze pearls.

At another potter’s, we discover these beautiful pieces, inlaid with bronze pearls.

Bead Weaving

Most of the Bamoun’s creations are decorated with ceramic beads.

Here, a wooden statue, covered with a piece of fabric on which beads are sewed.

Here, a wooden statue, covered with a piece of fabric on which beads are sewed.

The completed creation.

The completed creation.

Cotton Weaving

The set up is simple, out of wood and bamboo, and laying down on two chairs and two stools.

The set up is simple, out of wood and bamboo, and laying down on two chairs and two stools.

Blue is the color of the Bamoun.

Blue is the color of the Bamoun.

Bronze Foundry

A very impressive and delicate art.

First step: the wanted shape is sculpted in a wax piece, by hand. The wax will be covered with clay, to make a mold. The molds are cooked, the wax melts down and leave the mold empty.

The bronze is then melted and poured into the molds.

The hot crucible is taken out of the fire by hand, by Seidou. Inside, the melted bronze is boiling …

The hot crucible is taken out of the fire by hand, by Seidou. Inside, the melted bronze is boiling …

… which will be poured into the molds.

… which will be poured into the molds.

Once cooled down, the molds are crushed and broken to get the object out. Single-use.

Once cooled down, the molds are crushed and broken to get the object out. Single-use.

Little crocodiles. On the left, the wax versions, hand-sculpted. On the right, the final object made out of bronze.

Little crocodiles. On the left, the wax versions, hand-sculpted. On the right, the final object made out of bronze.

Some of the pieces are really impressive. Here, a detail on a statue which is more than 4 feet high.

Some of the pieces are really impressive. Here, a detail on a statue which is more than 4 feet high.

Its creator, Adamou.

Its creator, Adamou.

Finishing the Tour

An overall look in the neighborhood. Houses on red soil, kids everywhere.

Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled

I think that none of the artisans will read these lines, but I really want to thank them here, once again. They welcomed us, shared their knowledge and made us discover a lot about their everyday life and Art.


On the road again. The trail to Jakiri …

On the road again. The trail to Jakiri …

Comments

Open the conversation

Please fill this couple of fields, or, easier:
It all stays confidential, promise. Your information will never be shared.