In Africa, women's passion to create is evident during times of peace as well as war, under favorable circumstances as well as the most difficult and dangerous imaginable. Their media of expression can be naturally derived or imported. It can vary from monumental stone sculpture to intricate beadwork, or from painting with mud to oil and acrylic. The passion to decorate is evident in daily life from the designs applied to the smallest clay bowls, to the sturdy mud walls of their compounds where women give birth or see life pass away. These decorations are frequently symbolic and the motifs can please as well as reinforce shared community values. Across the African continent, from Timbuktu, Mali to Harare, Zimbabwe or Asmara, Eritrea, whether women weave, sew, sketch, paint, create fabric applique or stone sculptures, their art work often incorporates the duality of myth and reality as they express their hopes, fears, humor, and frustrations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Oregon artist and writer Betty LaDuke has gained an international reputation for her murals, paintings, and sketches. Her work tends to express socialist progress and life’s continuity, from images of America’s civil rights struggles, such as Play Free (1968), to women’s struggles for survival in war-ridden, spoiled lands, such as Eritrea/Ethiopia: Where Have All the Fathers Gone (1998). Other thematic elements in her work include animals, rituals, and celebrations, which LaDuke uses to illustrate similarities among geographically and traditionally disparate cultures.
Art & Art Studies, Women's Studies, AFRICA