Bamana: The Art of Existence in Mali
Bamana: The Art of Existence in Mali provides a comprehensive examination of the Bamana people of West Africa. Westerners have long thought African society is governed by ancestry and ethnicity. But in fact we come to recognize that more profound characteristics pertaining to philosophy and ethics are stronger influences as revealed by this study of the Bamana way of life. Through the learned secretly guarded knowledge of proper, prescribed behavior the Bamana appease forces of nature or spirits to ensure their beneficence toward the human community (and its continuity). At appropriate milestones in their lives they acquire this essential knowledge through study and initiation into associations differentiated by gender, age, or power. The masks and objects are visible manifestations created to communicate with these forces or to teach ideals and correct behavior.
Bamana: The Art of Existence in Mali toured to the following venue: Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin (2003).