Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The last bogolan cloth

Seven years later we found Satane still there, but now too old and frail to work. Her daughters had not wanted to take up the bogolan, and only one  of her cloths remains. The quality of this piece is far ,far higher than any other piece I have seen, and anything that is for sale in Djenné’s commercial bogolan ateliers. ‘ My daughters did not want to make bogolan , because it was too much work for very little return, said Satane.  ‘How long did it take you to make this piece?’ I asked and she told me it could take up to three weeks to make such a piece.  ‘The whites that came used to pay up to 15000FCFA(23E) for one like this’ said Satane. Of course noone wants to work for three weeks for 23E any longer.  However, this piece could take centre stage in in the  the most discerning of textile connoisseurs’ collections, or for that matter it could be given pride of place in any museum. It should by all rights fetch many hundreds of Euros, and should it reach Europe it may do that one day, as a fine example of an art that has disappeared.   But the originator will never see the money. Noone is willing to pay anything for African  goods if it is not ancient  sculpture. And therefore these are the very last of these fantastic cloths that are now being made in the Malian bush. (picure courtesy of Catherine Reilly).


Blogger David said...

Here's your meaning and purpose back in a day. And what a day! I well remember the trip with Max to Diabolo, and the dancing ladies rehearsing, as the most authentic of our trip (the other was stopping off on our pirogue trip down the Niger at a village, small town rather, where the inhabitants were genuinely curious to communicate with us, and didn't want to sell us things (or not insistently, anyway).

If the right people read this, the situation could, ought to, change. But even if it doesn't, you've documented it. I hope you have lots more photos that you haven't put up here.

10:11 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

I will take more tomorrow!And yes, I remember well the day we went to Diabolo- lovely times xxxs

10:58 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

That is gorgeous, and what you say about the cloth being undervalued is tragic--though I like what David has said, and may he be right!

11:50 PM  
Blogger Gilliane said...

Very beautiful and it's great that you're finding out about the traditional techniques.

5:56 PM  

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