Obituary: Yanda Yayi, Masaga Glassmaker

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Yanda Yayi, blinded by years of sitting in front of an open fire, created glass beads for most of his 80 years.  He was the second oldest man in the Masaga community of glassmakers that had seen the making of bikini glass ( a term the Masaga people use that describes indigenously made glass) in his youth. In November 2019 when I produced a documentary about the Masaga glassmaking community,  he was present, everyday, and contributed generously to the reconstructing of the process to make bikini glass,

The urgency to make the documentary about locally produced bikini glass was that the Masaga community had not made bikini glass for over 50 years and only two men had ever seen it produced by their forefathers. Yanda Yayi was one of the two. Recreating this process for the community to witness the legend of making bikini glass in the present took a year of difficult negotiation.  I believed passionately their story had to be told.

Unfortunately, the film has yet to be edited and released. Hopefully the release will be by September 2020 but too late for Yanda Yayi.

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One of the oldest glass craftsmen in Bida

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Bida Glass: Bangles and Beads

Bling Bling in Bida

Bida Glass at Muséo Parc Alésia, France

https://nomad4now.com/2018/12/22/nupe-day-merit-award/

https://nomad4now.com/2019/10/06/red-walls-of-bida-the-book/

https://nomad4now.com/2020/01/03/portraits-of-a-glassmaker/

https://nomad4now.com/2019/12/04/turbaned-jikadiya-gargajiya/

Instagram: bida_glassmakers

11 thoughts on “Obituary: Yanda Yayi, Masaga Glassmaker

  1. May his soul rest in peace.

    Wonderful that you were able to film him while he was a living historical ‘document’.

    Thank you for doing the important work of documenting the history and craft of bikini glass. A work of priceless value, Lesley.

    Blessings, Olatoun

    • Dearest Olatoun, Your comment helped me as I am so sad this man won’t see the documentary. It makes me want to have the film immediately before another person in this community won’t enjoy seeing their heritage. Thank you.L.

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