Morning Activities
Njogu Touray


Acrylic on canvas; collage with hessian sackcloth and string

80cm (h)

80cm (w)


This painting is part of Njogu's kenyeleng series, inspired by the colourful and unusual dress and activities of this women's group in The Gambia. Kenyelengs have a strong belief in the continuity of the family for a healthy community; therefore they try to safeguard against losing a child. Kenyelengs play a useful role in self-support, assisting women who have lost a child. They are great communicators, skilful in mending strained relationships in the community by acting in a jovial and friendly way.

In the morning, they get up and go to the ceremonial place, where they bathe - this ritual cleansing is accompanied by lots of singing and clapping. They are wearing rice sacks as a disguise to confuse the evil spirits that may haunt them.

Among the symbols within the painting is the talking drum, which represents the oral history traditions within Gambian culture.

It is a bright painting that reflects the early morning and a feeling of hope.