TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

African Art Trunk Show in Paducah! January 16 & 17

Bunja has a nice collection of Bobo masks
and other masks from Cameroon.

Mark your calendars! If you are a fan of African art you will not want to miss this two-day trunk show in Paducah!

January 16 & 17
Bunja Sako of African Arts
Trunk Show at English's Antiques
212 Broadway
Paducah, Kentucky

Bunja Sako of African Arts

Bunja Sako will be coming to Paducah with a van loaded with goodies from his import business, African Arts. Bunja, a native of Gambia, lives in Columbus, OH, and has been selling African carvings, textiles, and beads to ethnic galleries around the Midwest for over 22 years. Bunja's magic van will be loaded with:

  • African beads (trade, bone, Christmas, brass and copper from Ghana and Nigeria)

  • Bobo Masks

  • Masks from Cameroon

  • Stools from Tanzania

  • Dogon doors

  • Kuba cloth

  • Yoruba beaded hats and belts
Like every other African trader I have ever met, Bunja loads his van to maximum capacity. I shudder when I see these wonderful carvings and sculptures all jammed in like this, but somehow, they seem to survive. Yes, some wood does get chipped from time to time, but a little shoe polish seems to do the trick.

The reality is that traders like Bunja have no other option but to travel around like this. Many of the pieces sell best when they are seen in person and Bunja does not have computer skills, something which would greatly reduce the need to travel. Besides, having personal contact between traders and the retailers who buy from them builds trust, relationships, and cultural interaction.

Christmas beads

Dyed Buffalo Beads

We are thrilled to have Bunja at English's and hope that there will be a good turn out. Paducah is about a 2-3 hour drive from Nashville, Memphis and St. Louis. The drive would be worth it for an excursion that could also lead to explorations of the Quilt Museum (just one block from English's), antique stores, and the art galleries in LowerTown. (See my past articles on Paducah to read more about what is going on here.)

Of all of Bunja's treasures, I think my favorites are the Yoruba beaded hats and sculptures. We carried several pieces in our Chicago gallery and I never tired of looking at them.

Yoruba Beaded Sculpture

Yoruba Beaded Hat

I've also always been captivated by the lost wax process and brass or bronze sculptures. I own a couple of pieces from Africa and India and hope that someday I have more (don't know that my husband would approve of any more purchases of ethnic art........ heh, heh.)

Lost wax bronze beads.

Bronze sculpture

Lost Wax Ankle Bracelet

Come and join us! We are hoping to have many more of these events in the future. If you are also interested in having a trunk show at English's, leave a comment with contact info or e-mail me (link is on the top right corner of the blog).



  1. The top mask must be part of the rituals of raybanism.

  2. Rediscovered your blog as a result of joining Stitching Fingers...I don't think I'll get to Paducah that weekend but I'm wondering if he is the gentleman that stops in Louisville at Discoveries on Bardstown Road and if so, will he be stopping through this month?

    I have reservations for the week of quilt week in Paducah...will he be there at that time also?

  3. What a great event...wish I could be there!


“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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