JAMBAR Stephon Senegal


24 in stock

Binding: Perfect Bound
Pages: 124
Categories: , , , , ,


In conjunction with Senegalese linguistic specialists from Boston University, the “JAMBAR” book project details a short story written in Wolof, the main language of what was once Senegambia. Buttressed by research in Dakar, the illustrations that accompany each sentence were influenced by scripts spanning the Sahel region to include Bassa Vah and Hieratic. Part performance and part object, this work positions indigenous Senegalese language within Black Americana’s cultural inventory. The story follows an amalgamation of a Mandinka, Banmana and Djolof warrior who is confronted with the enigma of mercy and guardianship.

Language can seem mundane. Nothing particularly thrilling about faultless grammar. Nevertheless, it is foundational to how a culture defines itself. The tongue an individual speaks, chosen or forced, hints at class, character and country. Though phenotype connects the American Negro to western Africa, when he or she speaks, the damage that language has wrought on Black identity becomes undeniable. The quest to remove indigenous African tongues from the zeitgeist remains unchecked as evidenced by the many African countries who tote European dialects as official languages. To buck these trends, the Alkebulan Diaspora must choose to speak, not as freedmen, but freemen.

Southern Louisiana has a distinct linguistic profile with contributions from France, Senegal, Spain, Native America and Hispaniola. I grew up listening to and even occasionally speaking Louisiana Creole. The mechanisms of this vernacular represent our struggle to maintain an ancestral connection, that despite coerced assimilation survived hidden in dialect, cuisine and religion. The development of this paperback work represents a discontentment with the scraps of citizenship. In this artwork I am outlining a specificity to our pedigree.

The connection of New Orleans to Caribbean and Africa populations makes it a logical flagship for the journey from Blackness to Africaness. Those forcibly brought to the Americas once only whispered their stories of valor. Today, we bellow the premise, neither granted or leveraged: Freedom is not privilege, freedom is immutable right.

Stephon Senegal is an artist working primarily in assemblage and sculpture. His art practice focuses on martial ideology with colonization as a backdrop. As native a native of Lafayette Louisiana, the tenets of Creolization have become an axis point for his visual surveys. He holds a Master of Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Senegal was born in Louisiana and presently lives and works in New York City.

Additional information

Weight .375 lbs
Dimensions 4 × 8.25 × 0.5 in

You may also like…