“i ni ce, thank you, merci: The Art of the Groupe Bogolan Kasobane” a talk by artist Janet Goldner.
The Groupe Bogolan Kasobane is a collective of six artists from Mali who have been working together since 1978. The members of the Groupe were concerned about perpetuating the culture of Mali. After having graduated from art school, they traveled throughout Mali to research the traditions and practices of bogolan (mud cloth). Their findings enabled them to read the significance of the cloths which were in danger of being lost due to the cultural disruption and erasure that resulted from colonialism.
Traditionally, bogolan was used only for clothing. Their insistence on using local materials in their art and "elevating" materials associated with craft is a strategy employed by many contemporary artists throughout the world who use the materials at hand in their work. Their works are layered with meanings. Even without knowing the significance of the symbols, the works hold as paintings. An appreciation of Malian history and culture adds specificity to the work and aids in the protection of the symbols.
* Center for African Studies
* Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures
* Institute for Women and Art