Youtube: Forest Festival, Casamance, Senegal, West Africa

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 9.39.30 AM
VIDEOGRAPHY © JASON FLORIO AND HELEN JONES-FLORIO . CLICK HERE OR ABOVE IMAGE TO VIEW FOOTAGE

 

Late last year, Jason Florio and I traveled the short distance, south, across the border from our home in The Gambia, into the Casamance region of Senegal, West Africa – on assignment for a local NGO, Concern Universal; who we had worked with on previous projects.  The purpose of the assignment was to document a celebratory ‘Festival des Forêt‘, taking place in the village of Koudioubé; a juddering (hold-onto-something-fixed-down-and-mind-your-head-whilst-you’re-at-it) 20 minute drive down a deeply rutted ‘road’, through the bush – which, we were told by the driver, is often  impassible during a heavy rainy season – from the small Senegalese border town of Diouloulou.

The festival was particularly important, in the fact that it brought people together, from neighbouring communities whereas previously, due to a 30 year old civil war, they had been too afraid to mix and gather, in large numbers.

The 'Cumpo' is warming up... Casamance, Senegal
Jason Florio photographs the ‘Kumpo’ – traditional masquerade – festival des forêts, Casamance, Senegal. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 8.58.36 AM
Helen Jones-Florio: “These bundles are seriously ‘acouliatah’ (heavy)!”  – image © Jason Florio  

 

We were also accompanied by our friend, and adroit writer, Louise Hunt, who was covering the story for The Guardian:

We have been dancing all night together. In the past, people did not even attend funerals in neighbouring villages,” says a community leader, Bakari Jallou.

Casamance is Senegal’s most ethnically diverse region, separated from the rest of the west African country by Gambia. But it is not ethnic or even religious differences that have divided people for decades, it is whether they are pro-government or support a separatist movement to become an independent state.

The 30-year civil war, Africa’s longest-running conflict, has killed thousands and displaced many more. Senegal’s extensive hardwood forests were battlegrounds for the rebel Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) and the army.’ Louise Hunt for The Guardian – read the entire feature here.

If you would like to receive updates – including images, documentary, and travel stories – please feel free to subscribe (simply add your email address, at the foot of this page). You can also follow us on twitter and facebook.

Helen Jones-Florio

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 9.16.08 AM
Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio working for Concern Universal NGO – Koudioubé forest, Casamance, Senegal

 

Press: Review of exhibition opening – ‘Silafando’ – portraits of village chiefs by Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 8.11.47 AM
Photographer, Jason Florio, and photography & expedition producer, Helen Jones-Florio, at the opening of ‘Silafando’ – photo © Anna Wedin, for Afrope.se

 

A big thank you to Anna Wedin, who came to review the opening of our ‘Silafando‘ exhibition, at Gaya Art Café, Gambia, a couple of weeks ago, for Afrope.se – Jason Florio’s award-winning portraits of Gambian village chiefs (‘alkalos’) and elders were taken whilst we were on ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey‘, completely by foot, in 2009

Read Anna’s review on the Afrope.se site. If you would like to translate the article, try translate.google.com

The exhibition runs through April 30th, 2015. Click here for location details.

HJF

Related posts: Exhibition Opening / Silafando / Photo Exhibition – Silafando

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 7.47.40 AM
Jason Florio – Image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

 

NGO, Concern Universal: Ebola, hygiene, and hand washing – image by Jason Florio

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 2.21.43 PM
Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal, The Gambia and Senegal, West Africa (click image to ‘like’ CU’s FB page)

 

To view more of Jason Florio’s images, for CU, in West Africa, please visit their website.

Related posts:

‘Off to work we go… Ebola-free Gambia, for Concern Universal

The Gambia, West Africa, paying the price for being Ebola-Free

Hello…my name is Alieu…Tippy Tap hand-washing hygiene in The Gambia

 

An interview with photographer, Jason Florio, for NGO Concern Universal

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 12.56.32 PM

Jason had some great questions from Concern Universal guest blogger, Morgan Meeker, including:

You’ve documented the collapse of the World Trade Center – how do you make sense of it scenes like that?‘ Read Jason’s answers to all the questions on the CU site

Profile image of Jason Florio © Helen Jones-Florio