Here is the passage into the inner courtyard of a house on London Corner, Serekunda, The Gambia. We had gone into the workshop/showroom of Salam Batik, owned by Shiekh Tijan Secka, a famous batik designer who operates from an outside annex of this house. After we had each acquired one or more custom-designed pieces of batik, we were leaving. But this passageway beckoned to me.
I led the way into the inner courtyard, and as I advanced inwards, the first things I was were these feet resting on one of the many pillars of the house. The owner of the feet, a young lady, was reclining on the bonnet of an idle taxi in the shade. She became aware of the presence of visitors and readjusted herself, taking her feet off the pillar. "Please, as you were," I encouraged, indicating that my camera had recognised a picture moment. She laughed and obliged, though understandably, her pose this time was nowhere as natural as before.
One would have loved to get lost in the grace of this building. The more one saw of it the more fascination it held, the more it promised. We went no further than the courtyard. Here, Desiree chats with the some of the occupants. I particularly like the observing young girl's neck, whitened by mentholated powder, to combat heat rash.
A place of light and shadow, alcoves and elegant metal grilles and balustrades. Cars parked not in front or behind, but right in its middle. Washing hanging on shaded balconies, a carpet dries out and a pot balances in there too. The youngsters did not think (unlike Nigeria) that my camera would steal their souls for later use in malignant fetishes.
- House on London Corner, Serekunda, The Gambia - photographed by MW; 18 July 2007.