Original artwork.
“I Am Africa” - 11 x 14 in. (28 x 36 cm), graphite on bristol.

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I Am Africa

14x17 graphite on bristol.

This drawing is a tribute to the women of West Africa. Their graceful beauty is matched by their strength, courage, resilience, and often joyful determination in the face of a life that is anything but easy. Their work is tireless, and often thankless. Without their work, everything would stop; they are the true backbone of the village (and of the country). During one of my trips to Guinea, there was a nationwide women’s strike in response to unfair prices that the government had set on some staple food items. In a massive word-of-mouth movement, the women of Guinea collectively stopped working. The country ground to a halt; people went hungry. It lasted all of three days. Their demands were met, and everyone went back to work, singing and laughing as usual.

Drawing on Culture

An Artist’s West Africa Travelogue


In Drawing on Culture, Kobrenski shares his artwork, stories, and insights about culture and worldviews with the keen eye of an anthropologist so that we might, in turn, see our own cultural worldview with new eyes.

More than thirty new artworks from his time in Guinea are compiled here alongside his own field notes and essays. His portrait drawings inspire conversations about diversity, tradition, and why ancient ways of knowing are now more relevant than ever.

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“Dave Kobrenski is a gifted artist and musician, and a better anthropologist than many of the PhDs I know. Here is a fine text that depicts people as they are, illustrates their essence, and demonstrates the importance of appreciating, without appropriating, their lives and ways of being.”

Katherine Donahue, Ph.D, Professor Emerita, Anthropology