THE ALI LAMU STORY
ALI LAMU was a fisherman who one day when the sea was rough and impossible for fishing came to Daniela Bateleur, a traveling photographer, asking her for a job. She told him that unfortunately she didn’t have a job but asked him if he knew where she could buy some of the old dhow sails (in Swahili called TANGA) because she always loved the material. She always looked at it as a piece of art designed by the wind, the salt of the sea water, the sun, the rain, and years of traveling over the ocean.
Ali came back a few days later with a very old tanga. Daniela thought that the color was just magnificent and impossible to reproduce even if one tried because the weather and years were the master of that piece of art. Together they started to open it and look at it. In the middle of the tanga there was a big hole probably created by the strength of the wind during years and years of navigation. She looked at it and said…”this looks just like the hole I have in my heart at the moment, created by the strength and pain of love…”
The next day Ali came back with a tin of red and black paint. Together they started to paint a big red heart around the hole. Daniela then dipped her brush into the black paint and wrote: “LOVE AGAIN FOREVER WHATEVER…”
Daniela says “It all started….with and because of a broken heart….there is always a reason….follow your star….” After the first broken heart they began to work on their first line of products.
“Our first collection was about the feeling of a broken heart and the struggle of being a fisherman, to save this beautiful ocean and to survive at the same time. Our art is all based on the mood of the moment….it is simple, what you see is what we feel.” Says Lamu “I will always be a fisherman in my heart and spirit and this is what pushes me ahead every day.”
Daniela and Ali are now married and their bags inspire feelings of love, peace and hope. The sale of the bags goes to the fishermen who made them and back into the community of Lamu.