Acclaimed Gambian international artist, Isha Fofana, has received yet another award; this time from the Switzerland-based Gambia Friends Association.

The accolade that was handed over to Isha, also known as ‘Mama Africa’ by the director of The Gambia Friends Association, Madam Madeleine Lehmann, in Bern, Switzerland, recognised “her humanitarian and selfless work for the benefit of people, particularly women”. “With her commitment and motivation she has helped so many people. We thank her especially for her noble work caring for the health of so many Gambians – and at the same time for her dedication with which she has supported our work as homeopaths and naturopaths. May she be a model for many other women in The Gambia and beyond,” read the citation of the award.

The charity has for the past 10 years been supporting social and health projects in The Gambia. Reacting to the award, ‘Mama Africa’ said she felt excited receiving yet another prestigious award in recognition of her work. Her words: “Everything that I am doing is coming from my heart. I can’t see people suffering and that’s why I always try to help as much as possible. Sometimes my options are limited, but with the help of friends and associations like The Gambia Friends, we could solve a lot of problems. I’m very surprised but also very proud that I am the first person to have received this award not for my artistic work, but for my effort in trying to help our people. I am very grateful for this honour. Wherever I go, I will spread the news of the power of West African culture and the vision of Gambian women for a brighter future”.

Isha Fofana is currently in Europe preparing for exhibitions in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The cultural ambassador is expected to work together with other artists from the International Artist Organisation and will hold workshops. In September, she is expected to participate in an international conference to be organised by the Women’s Museum Network. Fofana, according to her office, will deliver a speech and discuss with the participants from all over the world about the situation of women in West Africa, the role they are playing in the society and the chance African women have to improve the life of their families and their countries in general as well as the role art and culture can play towards the empowerment of women. “This invitation is another great honour and a milestone in my life. I will represent my country and all women in West Africa. May the Almighty give me the power to show the world what women in Africa are capable of achieving,” she said in a press release issued by her office. It would be recalled that, six years ago, Isha Fofana returned to The Gambia after almost a 10-year international career abroad. During her time in Europe, she held many exhibitions, amongst them; the one staged alongside the UNESCO music awards ceremony for Youssou N ‘ Dour of Senegal and Oumou Sangaré of Mali. Her gallery in Germany was a cultural centre for people interested in arts and culture from Africa. Many top-notch personalities in the field of art have vouched for talent and skills, among them, the director of the museums in Aachen, Germany, Dr. Adam Öellers.

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