Artifact of the Month – Kenyan dhow, Lamu

Posted on
2014-07-16 (2)

A couple posts ago I mentioned that we had a new boat coming.  Well, it’s here and I decided to feature it as the object of the month for August.  She is a Kenyan dhow named Lamu.

Lamu was brought to Washington DC for the 2014 Folklife Festival all the way from Lamu Island, Kenya.  The above photo shows her in the National Mall in DC, the National Museum of Natural History behind her.   She was brought by Ali Abdalla Skanda, whose father built her about 10 years ago.  While at the festival, Skanda and an assistant, Aly Baba, worked on fixing her up and finishing the painting and woodcarving.  Skanda recognizes that dhows are not used as they once were (with the development of motorized boats) and so dedicates himself to continuing the art of dhow building (passed from generation to generation in his family) and preserving his culture.   Read more