Art from Africa... Zoom on Dogon art from Mali

In this post, I will introduce you to a special art coming from Mali and paying tribute to the Do. Here is the Dogon art.

Zoom on... the Dogon Art

L'art Dogon sur Kelen, promotion de l'art africain

Marka people are an ethnic group close to the Bambara, whose art is characterised by their masks covered with slabs of brass.

For Marka people, the Do is the spirit to which masks give form and enable it to express itself.

The Do comes from the bush through a mask made of leaves and, in some mythical cases, through a mask made of fibers and with a head carved in wood.

In the Marka society's religious system, the Do is the most appealed to and its cult is the most elaborated. Marka people are organised into masks societies very structured and hierarchised. There is an initiatory language used as a communication mean for the insiders.

Facial mask in metal

Players of Balafon, percussion instrument (Mandé) - quai Branly Museum

Joueurs de Balafon, instrument de percussion (Mandé), Kelen, promotion de l'art africain

Granary door/shutter

These shutters are used to close granaries or the household food saves.

Some of them are also used as "wardrobes" to stock the family goods.

These granaries are often made of rammed earth and put on stakes to protect them from rodents and insects.

Generally, the drawings showcase either sceneries from the world's creation as for the Dogon, or animal symbols, which are as much warnings to dissuade people from opening and taking some or all of the contents.

L'art Dogon, porte de grenier, Kelen, promotion de l'art africain

Cervid mask (gomintogo)

During funerals, masks worn by the dressed up dancers showcase beings populating the cosmogony. They leave their shelters to "enchant the souls of the deceased".

Made of carved wood or fiber hoods, these masks are done by the dancers. After the ceremony, the masks are put in caves whose locations are only known by the awa members (the masks' society) and locked up until the next occasion.

L'art Dogon, masque de cervelé, Kelen, promotion de l'art africain


Always very beautiful, African maternities remain very surprising because, contrary to the mother/child Western themes in which a relation between the mother and her child seems to be established, in the case of African motherhoods, these two characters remain "separated".

No emphatic look of the mother on her child, no filial movement.

Consequently, this mother and her child theme is translated not with an emotional relation, but with a generic principle of fertility and fecundity.

Such statues are assimilated to the sacred and religious domains and will find themselves on an altar.

L'art Dogon, Maternité, Kelen, promotion de l'art africain

Artistically yours,


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