5 Apr 2010

Bogolan experienced

“Bogolan” is usually used to refer to the Malian art of producing mud cloth textiles. I was in Hay-on-Wye last week and was fortunate enough to experience a wonderful exhibition of these cloths.

Photos; some of the work in the exhibition and view of Hay

As I learnt from one of the folk there the technique involves drawing with clay on naturally dyed fabric to produce typically a 'reverse design' like white on black. In Hay they had had various workshops which had been hugely popular with children and adults - indeed I hear children that have not participated in much or sat still in a lesson became totally absorbed - I reckon it would be great to have such an event here in Stroud and will certainly mention it to folk I know locally.

Contemporary artists use the Bogolan techniques to produce artwork as well as modern fabric designs. Kader Keita, born in Mali in 1972 and one of those exhibiting is a painter and bogolan artist with an international reputation - he has also worked with street children and refugees. Tim Oelman who works and exhibits in London was also exhibiting in Hay - all great stuff.

I've never been to West Africa but one of my favorite World Music artists is Toumani Diabates and in his most recent cd Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra (available at Kanes in Stroud) there was a free dvd about other Malian music - great stuff indeed.

Anyhow see some of the artists showing at the Hay exhibition at Bogolan UK website here and Kader Keita's site here. Interestingly Hay is twinned with Timbuktu and it seems there are many fruitful links between the two towns.

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