I have often been perplexed at the lack of artistic expression by Yawo people. They have numerous distinct ceremonies and events that are uniquely Yawo but I have always struggled to see artistic things Yawo people do simply because its pretty, aesthetically pleasing, or fun.
This could be because I’m looking for things that I recognise through my Western cultural lens of what constitutes art and it could also be due to artistic output being suppressed by generations of war and poverty. It could also be due to the fact that Yawo culture values the community over the individual so there is a lesser need for individuals to express themselves as compared to western cultures.
As I spend more time out of the city and more time in the villages with Yawo people I am beginning to see more expressions of art – houses painted just to be pretty, people singing after a meeting to express thanks, the intricate hair braiding that many women have. I’m sure as I learn to appreciate what Yawo people see, I will see many more expressions of art – its what humans do!