Tallin Tallin is a project that aims to preserve and promote the rich tradition of oral storytelling in The Gambia, West Africa; the evening entertainment that has captured the imaginations of so many generations of adults and children. In addition, it hopes to help address the Western-centric nature of many of the stories available to children in schools in the region. The project is being developed by artist Amy Pitt (www.amypitt.com) alongside WYCE, a charity that has been operating in rural Gambia since 2001 (www.wyce.org.uk).
Over the last few years, the project has travelled 914km across The Gambia, collecting traditional oral stories from 8 ethnic groups. For years, these stories have been passed on from generation to generation as a means of entertainment, to encourage debate and discussion, and to teach important cultural values. However, with younger Gambians increasingly living away from their extended family, and with Western forms of entertainment increasingly encroaching into everyday life, there is a real risk that as the generation that knows these stories passes they will be lost to this rapidly developing country forever.
Tallin Tallin will collate these stories, preserving them as a lively, illustrated book, one of which will be distributed to every primary school in The Gambia, free-of-charge. In doing so, the project intends to create a resource that celebrates local heritage and culture, encourages engagement with literature and storytelling, and has direct relevance to the people of The Gambia. Additionally, the original audio recordings will be made into a digital archive, so that these stories can be downloaded to phones, laptops, and tablets, and be widely engaged with in the format that they have always been shared.
In the long-term, the dream is to create a one-day festival celebrating the cultural tradition of oral storytelling. The festival will take place annually in three locations in The Gambia, and involve local storytellers and musicians.
In early April, a crowdfunder campaign will be launched which aims to raise £6000 in 30 days. This money will be used to:
- Print 1000 books and ship them to The Gambia
- Create the digital archive of original recordings and illustrations
If you are interested in finding out more about the project, and to keep up-to-date with the crowdfunder campaign and other updates, then please follow the contact details below: