Item description for Africa on the Move: Toys from West Africa by Pierre Pfiffner Stefan Eisenhofer...
Creatively and lovingly made at first by children for their own use, toys of recycled material have been on offer from the 1980s at traditional West African markets and are enormously popular. The Swiss collection comprising 150 items shown here has been amassed over the past ten years. Assembled with the simplest of techniques, toys such as motorbikes, cars, lorries, air-planes and military equipment are conjured up from all sorts of materials (wire, tin cans, plastic,wood, scraps of metal and cloth) with no limits set on their creators' imagination. Most of these toys are vehicles, which shows the status mobility has in African society. By now small workshops have emerged to ensure the survival of toy-making families. Text in English, German and French
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.5" Width: 7.8" Height: 1.1" Weight: 2.03 lbs.
Release Date Oct 15, 2004
Publisher Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt Gmbh
ISBN 3897902133 ISBN13 9783897902138
Reviews - What do customers think about Africa on the Move: Toys from West Africa?
Creative waste Jun 19, 2008
Arnoldsche, a leading German art publisher put this book out in 2004 and I wonder how long it will be before these scrap toys are considered folk art? They come from Ghana, Togo, Benin but mostly Burkina Faso, all dirt poor countries in West Africa. Re-cycled waste is probably made into toys in other parts of Africa and Asia but I wonder if they are as ingenious or colorful as the models in the book. Forty-two of them were made by Robert Compaore of Burkina Faso and he reveals in a short interview that some of the raw materials are actually bought from scrap markets.
All the photos feature vehicles of some kind: bicycles, scooters, tractors, cars, tanks, trucks, jets, helicopters, space ships and boats. Many of the vehicles have wheels made from the cut-off tops of aerosols which will give you an idea of their size. Some are really quite simple: a spark plug as the body of a motorbike with some bent wiring as the forks, handlebars, chassis and wheels made of blue painted wood.
I thought the best models were ones that used cut up metal packaging so that the logos, text and bar-codes were mixed together. On page 118-119 there is a stunning fifty-five inch long cargo ship from Ghana which is hard to consider as a toy. The models that don't feature commercial packaging do seem to look like potential art forms.
The almost square book is nicely produced (in 175dpi) with all the model photos as cutouts with an added drop shadow. Strangely the contents page is the last in the book and preceding that are some short text pieces (in three languages) and a sixteen page photo section of the toymakers. Overall I thought it was an intriguing book about the clever and creative uses of waste to produce some simple but fascinating toys.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.