Our Blog / Penney is an artist and designer living in Accra, Ghana.

Senegalese Lady with Sothiou and Bambara Fan

The latest ATC challenge was to design a card based on or styled after your favorite artist. It is difficult for me to pick a very favorite artist. It is like trying to pick a favorite color—so many are beautiful, how to choose just one?  I decided to focus on the work of Paul Jacoulet because he is one of my favorites I have not yet worked with.

An example of a Ukiyo-e print

First an explanation of my ATC. This tiny acrylic painting is of a Pulaar Senegalese woman dressed for a special occasion. She is chewing a sothiou (pronounced so-chew) stick which people use here as a kind of toothbrush (and I have heard that it really works for this purpose.) She is holding a Bambara fan which is a kind of woven wicker fan. Her dress is a loose flowing robe that is tie dyed bazin. She wears a matching headwrap. She wears golden beads sewn into her hair. The women may have indigo ink tattooed around their mouth and chin and this is thought to make their smile more beautiful.
I choose the subject, a Pulaar woman, based on Jacoulet’s subject preferences of documenting different ethnic groups. He spent much of his career visiting many of the small islands around Japan and the greater Pacific and made prints of the indigenous people. These are important especially because many of the island inhabitants lost their traditional way of life soon after World War II.

Jacoulet was Frenchman who lived in Japan most of his life. His printmaking style is Japanese and he was influenced by Ukiyo-e prints. He was known for exacting standards and high quality materials. He used ground mica, metals and pearls in his prints to give them a luminous look.  Check out a few of his prints at the bottom of this post.

12cm x 9cm inset painted on glass, artist unknown

His work also reminds me of the traditional Senegalese souwere (painting on glass see my previous post.)  Here is a beautiful piece, likely a Woolof woman, inset into a mosaic tea tray that I purchased  from Kamal Mosaic in Dakar.  Sadly, no artist was attributed.

Les Jades, Paul Jacoulet, 1940, one of his Christmas card prints

Sur le Sable, Rhull, Yap, Paul Jacoulet, 1937
Vielle Aino, Paul Jacoulet, 1950
Le Pacifique Mysterieux. Mers Du Sud (The Mysterious Pacific), Paul Jacoulet, 1951

Dawne Dicicco

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So, what do you think ?