Shaka Camera of Oakland has been a leather worker for over 43 years, specializing in hand stitched and hand tooled leather bags. His designs are earthy with a sophisticated touch – his bags practical yet unusual. Shaka’s pouches, purses, bags, even computer cases are embellished with beads, shells, silver and bronze acquired from his multiple trips to Africa.
Radiating from Burkina Faso in West Africa, where he has family, he collects beautiful objects for his finished work from the Baoule, Tuareg and Dogon people. The Tuareg of the Saharan interior of North Africa are well known for their fine silver jewelry.
Shaka may incorporate Tuareg crosses and cowry shells with other adornments in what he calls a “mixed Pan-African” esthetic. The Tuareg cross translates into a protective symbol and cowry shells, which were used for centuries as a currency in Africa, represent wealth, new growth and abundance. Carrying a bag with such adornments may have value beyond its beauty!
Shaka, whose company is Bogolani Designs, will show his work at the 42nd annual KPFA Crafts Fair on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9, at the Concourse in San Francisco. His wife of 12 years, Amatula, will share his booth with her original clothing designs made with hand-woven fibers.