Scott Hanselman

Buy Local Art - Connecting with a Tanzanian Artist from Dar es Salaam

January 19, '07 Comments [0] Posted in Africa
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CIMG6880A little tangent for a second. While we were in Tanzania last month we bought a lot of art. We usually "load up" and much of our house is African Art. I was an Afrophile long before I met my wife, and at least half the collection is mine., including two very large Amharic Fidel that I'm particularly fond of. Anyway, while we were in Arusha we had the good fortune to stop by Viavia, considered the least commercial of the local cultural heritage spots (here's photos in Flickr tagged "viavia" for a taste) and we met a young artist named Devdeo.

He really connected with my Mom, but as we had just arrived a day before, my Mom wasn't quite comfortable "putting her heart on her sleeve" and she didn't buy. The artist left for Dar es Salaam the next day. Fortunately Mom got his card, and remembered the art she wanted. We used SMS text'ing over the next week once she'd come to her senses and young Devdeo gave his art to a friend who was taking the six hour bus ride from Dar back to Arusha.

In this case we didn't negotiate prices because we felt strongly about helping young artists, and the prices were quite fair. I also mentioned to Devdeo that I'd put his art on my website, a prospect he found quite "fantastic."

His email is "devdeo" at the yahoo.co.uk domain (obfuscated for anti-spam) and he welcomes comments and inquiries. Most Africans with email that I met use free email in a co.uk domain it turns out.

My name is Devdeo.
I'm mainly an abstract painter but also i 've some realistic paintings. I age 23 yrs old.
I was born in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, in may 1983. Started drawing comics at age of 5, in 1988.
I've not attend any fine art or painting school, but am dreaming of got one. Now living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Painting on canvas or paper with acrylic, oil, oil pastel, dry pastel or water colours. I don't have a studio just paint at home.
I have been participating in art festival or exhibition and looking forward for more and I'm Not married.
I love painting for sure, that's wat i sleep think about it and wake up think of it....ha ha! U kno wen am painting i feel like am the creator! Is something am free to do the way i like. My bottom line i have a "heart of art".
My contacts, Mobile: +255 784 235 235.
My Address is P.O.Box 34073, Dar es Salaam Tanzania.
Thanx scott,
.devdeo.

Devdeo encourages emails and SMS text messages with questions about his art, and art in Tanzania. He's also on Windows Messenger and Yahoo messenger with the same email as above. If you're visiting Tanzania, SMS him and say that you heard about him from Scott's website.

If you visit a country not your own, do try to connect with locals, especially young artists. We met many artists, some old, some young, most very talented. This young artist wants nothing more than any other artist, to support himself and create, and that stuck out in our heads.

My mom carried the four original works that she purchased from him with incredible care on the 25 hours of airline travel and they are now lovingly framed and displayed in her house in Oregon. She now feels more connected to Africa and this young man, and I was, and am, happy to have been a small part of that.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.