Portraits Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders by Jason Florio
Portraits Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders by Jason Florio - 'Silafando-a gift to you on behalf of my journey' - taken whilst on a 930km walk, completely by foot, around the tiny West African country of The Gambia. Silafando is an age-old tradition of travelers presenting a small token of thanks, to the village chief, for their protection and hospitality.
Silafando, alkalo, village chiefs, Gambia, West Africa, walking, trekking, portraits, tradition, culture, Jason Florio, Helen Jones-Florio, donkeys, fine art photography, adventure, photography, camping
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Portraits of Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders ‘Silafando’ – by Jason Florio

FLORIO_WITH_ALKALO (VILLAGE CHIEF)_THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA ©HELEN JONES-FLORIO

Portraits of Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders ‘Silafando’ – by Jason Florio

 

Portraits of Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders by Jason Florio – ‘Silafando-a gift to you on behalf of my journey‘ 

The portraits of Gambian village chiefs & elders by Jason Florio were taken in 2009 whilst on a 930km walk. The walk was made completely by foot (‘bi tama lah singo lah’, in one of the local languages, Mandinka), around the tiny West African country of The Gambia. Silafando is the age-old tradition of travelers, in the region. Whereby, they present a small token of thanks, to the village chief  – also known as ‘Alkalo‘ – for their protection and hospitality.

These portraits went on to become an award-winning body of work for Florio and continue to be exhibited internationally.

Portraits of Gambian Village Chiefs, Dam Sallah and Fatou Dansu, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Portraits Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders, Alkalos Dam Sallah and Fatou Dansu © Jason Florio

 

Camera equipment and camping gear was carried on a cart which was pulled, alternately, by two donkeys (‘Trevor’ and ‘Hadley’).

Helen Jones-Florio and the two donkeys crossing the River Gambia in a small local ferry ©Jason Florio

Helen Jones-Florio and the two donkeys crossing the River Gambia in a small local ferry ©Jason Florio

 

Portraits of Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders by Jason Florio   

 

Portraits Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders - 'Herouna with his White Horse' ©Jason Florio - available to purchase from the HJF gallery

Portraits Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders – ‘Herouna with his White Horse‘ ©Jason Florio – available to purchase from the HJF gallery

 

Each night was spent in a different village. Florio would present the gift of ‘Silafando‘ and ask permission to make a formal portrait of the chief and his elders.

Camping in the chiefs compound, in Kabba Kunda, Basse, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Camping in the chief’s compound, in the village of Kabba Kama, Basse, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

 

Kola nuts-traditional-silafando, The-Gambia © Jason Florio

Kola nuts-traditional silafando, The-Gambia © Jason Florio

 

Bubu Dabbo and Chief Massaneh Cham, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Portraits Gambian Village Chiefs & Elders – Bubu Dabbo and Alkalo Massaneh Cham © Jason Florio

 

Photographer, Jason Florio, talks about shooting his award-winning portraits of Gambian village chiefs, at the opening of his Brooklyn, NY, solo exhibition.

To view the entire ‘Silafando‘ collection of portraits, please visit Florio’s website. To purchase his stunning fine art photography prints from the award-winning series, please email helen@helenjonesflorio.com for more details.

Read, and see more images, from our adventure, around The Gambia, please visit the blog ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey

Helen Jones-Florio

Founder | Curator

Main Gallery

Helen Jones-Florio walks with the donkey on A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush © Jason Florio

Helen Jones-Florio A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush © Jason Florio

 

Featured image: Jason Florio sits with Alkalo, Jare Sowe, Felling Kotto, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

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