Tatiko, the Journey of an African Pot

“Tatiko, the Journey of an African Pot” was premiered at the Westport Arts Festival. 8.00pm Wyatt Hotel. 29th September 2011, along with “The Alchemy of Clay”, to an enthusiastic audience.

‘Tatiko: The Journey of an African Pot’ A documentary featuring the extraordinary traditional women potters of Tatiko, Nigeria Made by Anthony O’Brien & Jarlath Rice. In January 2011, Louisburgh potter Anthony OBrien travelled to Tatiko in northern Nigeria to visit the traditional women potters at work.

‘Several years ago, I was given a large red clay pot from Africa. It came from a small village in northern Nigeria called Tatiko, where the women have been making pots by hand for hundreds of years. The pot was for everyday use, probably made to hold palm oil or water. Its generous curves are decorated with fine lines over a textured surface. Shiny bands of bright red clay surround the pot’s rim, neck and shoulders. Somebody spent a long time burnishing the distinctive bright red bands, giving an extra dimension of beauty to a useful container.

In January of this year, 2011, I went to Nigeria to visit the man who originally gave me the pot, my cousin Michael O’Brien who has been working with the potters in Nigeria since the early Sixties & he brought me to meet the women of Tatiko, to see where my pot was made. This film is the result of that visit. It tells the story of pot-making in Tatiko, a place you won’t find on the map but where the traditional potters’ skills are as much in demand today as they have ever been. Tatiko supports a thriving community of more than sixty women potters. Every week they sell all they’ve made in Paiko market, a few miles up the road. People come to Paiko from all over this part of Nigeria to buy their pots. The energy of the women is infectious, their dexterity and speed in making these pots is formidable, as a potter it was seriously thrilling to be present at a Tatiko firing but most of all, they are making useful everyday objects which are also works of great beauty.

On my return I worked with the filmmaker Jarlath Rice to take my footage from the trip and shape it into a short documentary that follows the journey of my own Tatiko pot and captures the magic of my journey in Nigeria.’
Anthony OBrien is an artist and potter from a family of Irish painters. He grew up painting, drawing and working with clay. After training in Denmark and the USA, he set up his pottery in Dublin, where he lived and worked until moving down to Louisburgh in 2006. His exhibition, “36 Views of Croagh Patrick” was a sell-out at the Sea, Sky, Shore Gallery in Westport Arts Festival 2008. Website: www.anthonyobrienart.com

Jarlath Rice is a Dublin born filmmaker based in Dundalk. For King of Colour Productions he has produced&directed a number of short documentaries inc. ‘The Story So Far…’-A Profile of the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland’ and ‘Surf2Heal’- A documentary of a 5-day surf camp for kids with autism and their families. He was a founder director of experimental touring theatre company Artslab Ireland&has worked through the medium of film, photography, performance&teaching for over 20yrs.