The Groupe Bogolan Kasobane is a collective of six artists from Mali who have been working together since 1978. The members of the Groupe were concerned about perpetuating the culture of Mali and after graduating from art school, traveled throughout Mali to research the traditions and practices of bogolan (mud cloth). Their findings enabled them to read the significance of the cloths which were in danger of being lost due to the cultural disruption and erasure resulting from colonialism.
Traditionally, bogolan was used only for clothing. Kasobane’s insistence on using local materials in their art and “elevating” materials associated with craft is a strategy employed by many contemporary artists. Their works are layered with meaning. Even without knowing the significance of the symbols, the works hold as paintings. An appreciation of Malian history and culture adds specificity to the work. Their work has been exhibited throughout the world.
The Groupe also makes costumes and sets for films, videos, theatre, home furnishings and clothing. Their world class collection of Malian clothing, textiles, beads furthers their work of cultural preservation.
Janet met the Groupe Bogolan Kasobane in 1994. Since then they have worked together in many contexts as friends and artist colleagues.