I tried to enjoy the last day of our four-day weekend by going to Lekki Market today. We were told it is the best place in Lagos when it comes to African handicraft. Although most stalls were also closed due to the Id holiday, I was not disappointed with the ones that were open.
There were shops that sold nothing but bead necklaces, and artist’s galleries featuring batik art, painting, and wood carvings — tons of wood carvings. Then I stumbled on a shop that sold masks, and thought of my girlfriends Bernadine and Bingo and Hazel, who all collect masks and would probably kill me if I didn’t buy them one.
The owner of the shop was really nice and helpful. He was patient in explaining to me the different kinds of masks, most of which came from West Africa. He showed reproductions that cost $25-30 and the genuine antiques that were actually used in ceremonies, about $1,000. The reproductions, only 4-5 years old, actually look like antiques, too. If I bought a pair, usually a male and female of same design, the price is lower.
I think if I’m going to be an ‘expert” on African handicraft I need to visit the market at least once a month, even if I don’t buy much. It’s so fun to talk to the shop owners who are proud of their wares. The guy in the next stall got jealous and invited me to take photograph his display, too. he must have heard me explain that I was only interested in taking pictures to show to friends, who might pick something they want me to buy.