African Canvas

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
Library Journal
This book is by no means a scholarly treatise but rather a beautiful pictorial survey of many of the traditions of architectural decoration created by women in various regions of West Africa. Courtney-Clarke, a journalist-photographer who previously wrote the similar Ndebele: The Art of an African Tribe ( LJ 8/86), provides an introduction consisting of commentary on the problems of locating and photographing the murals and their artists, as well as a brief discussion preceding each group of photos. As a record of an ephemeral art that is being abandoned in many areas, this book is strongly recommended for public and academic libraries.-- Eugene C. Burt, Seattle
Booknews
Photojournalist Courtney-Clarke spent three years traveling through Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mauritania, and Mali, documenting the vernacular architecture, pottery, body painting, and mural art of the women of West Africa. This volume, special even by Rizzoli's high standards, reproduces about 180 of Courtney-Clarke's color photographs, accompanied by her text and with a foreword by Maya Angelou. 11x11". Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847811663
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 8/1/1990
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 11.41 (w) x 11.35 (h) x 1.27 (d)

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