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The City of Tapestry. - Thiès, Senegal

On my recent visit to Senegal, one of the four city tour was in Thiès; home of Manufactures Sénégalaises des Arts Décoratifs.

Photography by Will Adams

The city of Thiès is well known for its tapestry-making industry, this factory was set up in 1966 under President Senghor. Designs for the brightly colored tapestries are chosen from paintings submitted by Senegalese, African artists and even the well know Black American artist Melvin Edwards.

Each design is first drawn in reverse, then enlarged and color coded. This large piece of paper is placed in the loom for the weavers to follow. The weaving is done on manual looms with two weavers completing about 1 sq. meter per month. Only eight tapestries are made of each design.

Extremely expensive, most of the tapestries are gifts from Senegal to foreign dignitaries. Atlanta airport, John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Buckingham Palace, Bill Clinton, and George Bush are five of the recipients.

This is an interesting fact that I never thought about until my visit to the continent of Africa; its size in comparison to what's considered the most powerful regions of the world. Take a look at this map that was created to show the true scale of the land mass.

Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa
Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa