Category: Artistry

The visual culture of West Africa, from sculpture, ceramics, textiles, metalwork and architecture to the dynamic performance arts (dance, music) that bring traditional mask art to life.

The Blacksmith

To the percussive rhythm of the forge — clanging hammers, puffing bellows, hissing vapor — the West African blacksmith has been shaping the culture around him since the ancient, artistic, …

The Masons of Djenné

The master mason makes his way through the maze of twisting alleyways, staircases, rising spires, and banco houses that not only typify Djenné, but designate it as a World Heritage …

The Puppeteer

The West African puppeteer lurches, leans and sways, giving himself over to the demands of his carved creation. He is at once ajogi, a Yoruba dancer of the wooden image, …

The Weaver

Somewhere in the Futa Tooro region of Senegal, a Tukolor weaver, or mabube, reenacts an ancient ritual. He gathers his loom parts — pulley, wheel, shuttle, beater that have been …