Original artwork.
“Facily Condé” - 19 x 24 in. (48 x 61 cm), graphite on bristol.

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Facily Condé

19x24 graphite on bristol.

I met Facily Condé in the Faranah region of Guinea, West Africa. A respected elder in his village, Facily was also renowned as a great djembefola throughout the region. I met him because he was the teacher of my own teacher, Sayon Camara, who has, in turn, taught many others about the musical tradition. In this way, the tradition continues, in the same way it always has: being passed from generation to generation.

In this drawing, I was inspired by seeing a group of elders meet in the village center to discuss matters of importance to the village. It was early morning, and the bright sunlight was just beginning to stream between the village huts and baobab trees that encircled the meeting area (bara) in the village. As I regarded Facily’s expression of concern, I thought about how the “greater good” of the community as a whole was always at the forefront of conversation.

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