The Silence of Women: Bamana Mud Cloths is the first full-length scholarly book entirely devoted to an African art form created by women. The mud-dyed textiles created by the women of the Bamana people in Mali, West Africa, have been treated as craft, but here these traditional mud cloths are presented as a complex art form. Author Sarah Brett-Smith illuminates the hidden cultural testimony written into the mud cloth patterns: women's silent and deeply reserved visual commentary on the events that dominate their lives-- excision, arranged marriage, childbirth and death. This book explores both art-historical and anthropological considerations of technique, style, symbolism and function in Bamana textiles and opens up areas of understanding that are closed to standard approaches. The Silence of Women is a major contribution to the study of female artisans/artists in Africa. With great sensitivity, subtlety and patience, Brett-Smith reconstructs the contours of an art form that has had to deny its own existence and explores hitherto untouched areas of African art and culture, leading to an emotional understanding of the shadowy world and silences of female knowledge.
About the Author
Sarah C Brett-Smith, professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, specialises in the study of Bamana ritual art and medicine with a focus on the mud-dyed cloths painted by Bamana women.