African Canvas

Margaret Corurtney-Clarke, Author, Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Author, Maya Angelou, Foreword by
Margaret Corurtney-Clarke, Author, Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Author, Maya Angelou, Foreword by Rizzoli International Publications $60 (204p) ISBN 978-0-8478-1166-3
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
Photojournalist Courtney-Clarke, whose book Ndebele captured the painted wall art of South Africa, brings the same inquiring spirit to this depiction of her three-year trek from Nigeria to Senegal. Surviving sandstorms, locusts and malaria, she documents the bold geometric and symbolic wall paintings made by women in remote West African villages. These women transform objects from their daily world--a fish net, a cooking pot, a weaving, a calabash--into rippling patterns laden with cosmic significance. Made with natural pigments from plants or clay, these pictures often perish in the rainy season. Creeping urbanization is also taking its toll on the villages, whose mud compounds, houses, clothing, body painting and pottery Courtney-Clarke documents as well. This strong, moving photoessay is equally valuable as an investigation of a dwindling way of life and as a permanent record of a seldom-seen vernacular art form. (Aug.)
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