Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
art, maasai, bayamoyo, culture, mselem
Over the past thirty-or-so years, there has been a large increase of tourism in East Africa. In the coastal town Bagamoyo of Tanzania, many young men have made a career out of the tourist-industry – by producing tourist art. In this paper, I analyze the lives of local artists in Bagamoyo, as well as argue that they brand their art in particular ways that align with their ideas of tourist expectations and preconceived ideas of Africa. I argue that these artists practice different types of branding – primarily depicting Africa as primitive and wild, as they see producing art as a business geared towards its target customers and their interests. In addition, tourists have different interests when buying tourist art, which is often influenced by what brought them to visit East Africa. Through informal interviews, countless hours of ‘hanging out’ with local artists, taking painting and carving lessons, among other informing experiences, I uncover the lives of artists in Bagamoyo – why they became artists, how they brand their artwork, and how they feel in control in a tourist-dependent business. I spent seven weeks conducting fieldwork in Bagamoyo, as well as a week in Moshi, and a few days in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Washburn, Ben, "Tanzanian Art: Attracting Tourism and Constructing A Packaged African Image" (2016). Honors Theses and Student Projects. 222.