Laongo: Where African sculptors etch memories, art on granite

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Laongo is a haven for African sculptors.

There, they carve their artistic thoughts and impressions on natural material- granite.

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Over 2000 sculpted works assail the visitor right from the entrance of the expansive grounds to its woody extension which is also a stone throw away.

The beautifully crafted works etched in stone overwhelm the senses, ranging from the spiritual, political, traditional roots, family life, history, culture and mundane art.


The granite sculptures were crafted by various African artists at this site popularly known as Laongo Sculpture Symposium, also referred to as an open-air museum.

The site was founded in 1989 by Burkinabe sculptor, Siriki Ky.

The ‘granite park’ covers roughly 100 hectares (247 acres) and hosts an annual gathering of artists, who usually leave their artistic impressions on the numerous grey-pink rocky slabs.

The spot is located 35 km from Ouagadougou, in the province of Oubritenga. Sculptors across the continent and beyond are permitted to create their unique works in-situ using granite from the site.

Some of the works combine local granite and other materials such as metal.

Records show that the first biennial artistic symposium opened January 13, 1989, gathering 18 sculptors from 13 countries.

The tenth edition took place in May 2012.

Carved faces of prominent African personalities, animals, cultural groups and icons fill the wooded area, interspersed by delicate vegetation.

The site has been popularly described by tourists as a ”picturesque place of large blocks of granite skilfully exploited by artists from all over Africa to express their know-how. It is also a good hiking route”.

‘International symposium of Laongo’

The site director, Nacoulma Theophile, said the International Symposium of Laongo, which hosts artists takes place every two years and is well attended.