This page is a record of an exhibit that took place
in 1998. The individual links below will take you to
the CURRENT VERSION of the pages
that formed part of that exhibit.
The "Art of the Dogon" exhibition displays traditional, functional
objects from the Dogon people of Mali.We have chosen to focus the show not
on masks and figures but on doors, carved ladders, house posts and stools.
Most are beautifully weathered by time and use.
Dogon carved doors are the most famous in Africa. Some doors protected the grain and used a sliding door lock. Primordial beings, ancestors, Kanaga masks, sun lizards and scenes of life symbolically served to protect the entrance. The low reliefs are carved on several panels, held together by iron staples. Less familiar are the several unique, massive doors and a group of large, plain house doors, many with their large original locks and patinas aged by exposure.
Dogon carved ladders are elegant, abstract, Brancusi-like columns, y-shaped for stability, that are leaned against the exterior house walls for access to the flat roof for storage or sleeping. Most are worn smooth from use and aged by the elements and contact with the earth. Ours vary in size and texture.
We have a large and varied collection of toguna posts. The Y-shaped posts support beams of the village men's toguna house and are embellished with figures, breasts or symbols. The impressive grouping, carved to last from kile the incredibly dense local hardwood, ranges in style and in size to over 7 feet tall and 195 Ibs. The bottom several feet are usually buried in the ground, some posts have discoloration of this area, others have it rotted away to varying degrees. They share a spiritual monumentality reserved for pieces fused by contact with the earth. One wonderfully aged piece was tragically defaced by the Dogon people 50 years ago to discourage its theft; it survived to age beyond usability. Muslim conversion of villages and closure of some of the Togunas has facillitated the legal purchase and exportation of the posts.
Several stools, most with ancestor figures supporting the seat, and other artifacts complete a show of unusual power, carved by man and aged by the earth. Because the pieces are so large, they will not all fit in the gallery; be sure to ask to see the rest of the show on the floors above and below the gallery. We will be installing on Weds.and Thurs., September 30 and October 1; feel free to stop by. To celebrate the new show and welcome you, we are having an Opening Party Sat. October 3, from 12-4.