Talk by Dr Cynthia Becker:Berber Women's Art in Rural Morocco

Event :
Talk by Dr Cynthia Becker:Berber Women's Art in Rural Morocco
Organizer :
BH Culture Authority
Date :
16th January 2015
Venue :
Bahrain National Museum –Auditorium
Description :

Time: 6PM

Berber Women's Arts in Rural Morocco
Berber women are artists. They weave patterned carpets, and, until recently adorned themselves with tattoos and decorated their faces with saffron. They wore elaborate silver and amber jewelry on a daily basis, creating and wearing the artistic symbols of Berber identity. Berbers (also known as the Imazighen, meaning "the free people" in their native language of Tamazight) are the indigenous inhabitants of North Africa and consider themselves culturally and linguistically distinct from Arabs. Despite societal influences that have changed daily life, Berber women continue to play a central role in constructing and preserving Berber identity, transmitting and perpetuating the aesthetic and symbolic forms that make this identity unique, achieving considerable status and respect. Motherhood is highly esteemed and Berber women incorporate symbols and colors related to fertility into their textiles, clothing, tattoos and hairstyles as an expression of female agency. This lecture uses women's artistic production to consider the artistic legacy of Berbers to Morocco's history and identity. It also considers how women continue to produce and use ancestral artistic forms, especially during rural weddings,demonstrating the crucial role women play in preserving Berber heritage in contemporary Morocco.
Bio
Professor Cynthia Becker is a scholar of African arts specializing in the arts of the Imazighen (Berbers) in northwestern Africa, specifically in Morocco, Algeria, and Niger. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is associate professor in the Department of History of Art & Architecture at Boston University. In addition to serving as a consultant for numerous museum exhibitions, Professor Becker has published several catalog essays, including a consideration of textiles and trans-Saharan trade for the exhibition catalog Africa Interweave: Textile Diasporas. She published the book Amazigh Arts in Morocco: Women Shaping Berber Identity in 2006 (University of Texas Press) and co-authored Desert Jewels: North African Jewelry and Photography from the Xavier Guerrand-Hermès Collection in 2009. She has also written articles on such topics as the influence of Sufism on contemporary artists in Senegal and Morocco, photography in North Africa, the Algerian artistic group Aouchem, as well and the visual culture and history of the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans (her hometown). Her research has been supported by grants from Fulbright, the American Institute of Maghreb Studies and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

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