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Culture and Arts

A New Wave of Creatives is Transforming Dakar, Senegal’s Capital City

There’s a lot to love about Dakar, and creative types seem to be flocking to it in droves. Whether it’s the beautiful setting, the welcoming culture, or its history as an art center, the city is percolating with all manner of cultural innovators who are remaking the city in their image.

After pursuing art school in Japan, Brazil, and the United States, Malian-born multimedia artist Papi Wata, a.k.a. L’Artrepreneur, arrived in Dakar and decided not to leave. “People were meeting here and transforming. A biotech guy became a photographer. Through his accessories label Kakinbow, named for the village in neighboring Guinea where he was raised, Aboubakarim Ndaw exports a touch of West Africa to the world.

His Touki (meaning “traveler” in Wolof) kat bags are made with local mud cloth, and his poncho wraps pull in the earthy colors of the region. Paris-born, Ivory Coast-raised designer and entrepreneur Sarah Diouf grew up visiting her parents’ native Senegal, and in 2016 moved to Dakar permanently.

The city inspired her to launch Tongoro, a label favored by Beyoncé and dedicated to African artisan producers that Diouf hopes will address the lack of accessibility between African fashion and the international market.


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