An exhibition of Rubia’s Malian Mudcloth (bogolan) will open in Lexington on November 3 in the Pierce Gallery of Cary Memorial Library. We’ll display the hand-dyed textiles of two artist groups in Djenne and Segou with whom we partner. The exhibit showcases their different styles, one the traditional Tanti Bogolan Women’s Association and the other a blend of old and new designs created by Ndomo Workshop and Conservatory of Natural Dyeing. Rubia admires these organizations for their exquisite textiles and for offering meaningful work to women and youth.
Rubia’s photographs of the artists using ancient techniques to make bogolan will hang alongside — and contextualize — the art. The objective of Rubia’s first art exhibit in Massachusetts is to support bogolan artisans by raising awareness of, and demand for, their uniquely beautiful heritage craft.
I asked Tanti Bogolan on facebook what she’d like to say to those viewing the exhibit. After greeting everyone in Lexington, she told me that tourism is not coming to Djenne; and that she hopes for more bogolan orders so she can offer more work to widows like herself.
Terrorism has frightened tourists away and the income that sustained these ancient Malian cities and their surrounding villages has completely dried up. The threat of violence is endangering the bogolan tradition. Our hope for its survival inspired this exhibition.
The library’s address is 1874 Mass Ave. in Lexington, MA 02420.