Friday, July 18, 2014

Bandiagara 01

In 2005 Vivienne and I traveled to Central Mali in West Africa to visit le pays Dogon. I'd fallen in love with photos I'd seen of Dogon villages built on the Bandiagara escarpment way back in my twenties––in a book by Rudofsky entitled Architecture without Architects (it's still in print!). It was one of those rare trips that turns out actually better than you'd dreamed (and I'd been dreaming for 40 years): floating down the Niger River in a pinasse, tenting on the desert, visiting the mosque in Djenné, experiencing a sandstorm, sleeping on the roof of mud huts, climbing past thousand year-old Tellim cliff dwellings, and finishing by celebrating New Year's Eve with the whole village.

The visit has inspired a lot of my work, including these new polychrome wood sculptures: I call them Bandiagara, and they are based in part upon our climb up the face of the escarpment, and partly on Dogon altars, upon which is poured animal blood and a millet porridge. (I found the photo below in an old book).

Bandiagara 01: polychrome wood, 70" x 26" x 26"

Note: this sculpture has been substantially repainted in 2015.