Ethiopian hut

Handmade in Africa

BBC Arts

This documentary series offers three in-depth portraits of contemporary African creative life, from three very different parts of the continent. In Senegal a kora musical instrument is crafted from scratch; in Ethiopia, the Dorze weave a traditional house; and in Kenya, a Maasai bead-maker crafts a wedding necklace.  Each episode sees the creation of a single, traditional artwork or object from scratch. The episode then ends with the object being displayed, worn, or used. But this linear structure is simply a medium to explore what the object really means, and its broader cultural context.  We discover the artist’s biography, their inspirations and calling. We come to understand the materials they use, how, and where they are sourced, and explore what these objects mean to the communities these artists live in.  
Handmade in Africa prioritises intimate access, celebrating the beautiful detail within each object, the techniques employed by each craftsperson, and draws viewers into the life of one primary artist (or one small family group) while also giving a sense of the community and village life going on around them. These are fly-on-the-wall films in the truest sense, and allow the audience to gain a unique perspective not just on the artworks and objects, but on the lives of the people who make them.