Art & Life in Africa.
March 7, 2003 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Art & Life in Africa. A resource on African art and culture. Key Moments in Life is an interesting page which deals with different phases of life. The Peoples Index gives overviews of the different cultures. The snapshots of daily life in Mali and Burkina Faso are also worth a look.
posted by plep (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Excellent stuff for my weekend armchair traveling, plep - thanks! I have a link with great photos of Mali that I may well have posted before, but it is worth adding to this thread. Chances are, I originally got it from you since you are my primary source for all things global!
posted by madamjujujive at 10:16 AM on March 7, 2003

Great link (almost superfluous to say). I was afraid it might turn out to be full of Afrocentric pseudohistory, but it's the real thing; this paragraph (from this page), to take an example at random, approximately doubled my understanding of Nigerian history:
With the collapse of Oyo [in the early 19th century], Yorubaland plunged into protracted warfare, leaving a landscape of ruined towns and huge numbers of refugees and captives. Perhaps 500,000 people migrated from the savannahs of the north, formerly the most densely populated portion of Yorubaland, to the forests and coastal areas of the south, where they founded new towns such as Ibadan and Abeokuta. This catastrophe may have prompted interest in new faiths. Christianity became important during the 19th century, and Abeokuta became the center of Yoruba Christianity. Its spread was largely the work of formerly enslaved Yoruba who returned home from Brazil and Sierra Leone. Internal conflict, however, prevented resistance against European colonial conquest. The British established a protectorate over the port of Lagos in 1861, and forced Ibadan to accept a resident administrator in 1893. Colonialism began a process which eventually would integrate Yorubaland into the Nigerian nation.
posted by languagehat at 11:10 AM on March 7, 2003

Indeed, this is an excellent resource for information on Africa, and one that I didn't know about before. I'm actually doing research right now on religion and music in Nigeria that I hope to present it at some point in a multimedia format such as this.

Some other great resources on the web for African art and culture that I've made use of in teaching about African culture or as background to my research:

The Yoruba Ethnographic Archive contains videos, photos and descriptive and analytic information about orisa festivals in Ayede-Ekiti, Nigeria.

The Venda Girls Initiation Schools site presents the great anthropologist John Blacking's research on South African music, and includes music and video clips, music transcriptions and photographs from his research.

African Art -- Aesthetics and Meaning is an electronic exhibit catalog, which includes photos of African sculpture and catalog descriptions of the objects. It also includes a consideration of African aesthetics.

The African Immigrant Folklife Study Project documents a Yoruba naming ceremony held in Washington DC, and includes photos, recipies and more.

Finally, is a bit different from the above sites, but is a wonderful resource where you can look at or listen to art and music produced by Nigerian artists and then contact them if you're looking for a but more information.

posted by vitpil at 11:38 AM on March 7, 2003

Thanks for those links vitpil - they are great. (Also , when you complete your web project, I'd be really interested in taking a look... !)
posted by plep at 1:17 PM on March 7, 2003

I've been poring over the West African mud mosques of Mali and the Niger Inner Delta, which I found via wonderful Things Magazine. Some of the mosques have details like tapered walls, spires capped with ostrich eggs (for fertility and purity), ceramic vent caps to heat and cool the interiors, and integrated palm wood scaffolding, built into the structure, so that the mud can easily be applied annually. They range in style from little more than a shack, to palatial. I only wish there were more close-ups, although the photographs are rather good. Those mosques in your Mali link are all made of mud, plep.
posted by iconomy at 6:37 PM on March 7, 2003

Great links vitpil! I echo plep's interest in your project. And iconomy, cool stuff about the mosques.

In exploring your original links plep, I came upon this slide & clip show that demonstrates West African pottery being made - very interesting & informative. I also like this page of people resources.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:12 PM on March 7, 2003

Here's another link :- Cutting to the Essence - Shaping for the Fire, an online exhibit of Yoruba and Akan art.
posted by plep at 11:50 PM on March 7, 2003

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