Submission Title

Female Expressions of Beauty in West Africa

Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library

Subject Area

Anthropology

Description

Art from Africa is often imagined as sculptures and masks by a large majority of people. Current written materials on art in the area comprises mainly those particular items, with minimal emphasis on textiles. However, in Western Africa Senegal is not known for those “traditional” arts. Rather, the Senegalese are known for and place great significance on dress and outward appearance of the body. Thus, Dakar, Senegal is known as one of the fashion capitals of Africa. The Senegalese are known for their use of wax fabrics and body adornment, and they consider these commodities of great importance to display status in their society. The wax fabrics come from a long history of cloth trade between Europe and ‘exotic’ places, such as West Africa. The displays of status are demonstrated on important cultural events such as religious holidays, baptisms and weddings, just to name a few. This presentation discusses the effects of globalization on the fashion of the area, as well as how these external markers present identity and status to their audience.

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Female Expressions of Beauty in West Africa

Jereld R. Nicholson Library

Art from Africa is often imagined as sculptures and masks by a large majority of people. Current written materials on art in the area comprises mainly those particular items, with minimal emphasis on textiles. However, in Western Africa Senegal is not known for those “traditional” arts. Rather, the Senegalese are known for and place great significance on dress and outward appearance of the body. Thus, Dakar, Senegal is known as one of the fashion capitals of Africa. The Senegalese are known for their use of wax fabrics and body adornment, and they consider these commodities of great importance to display status in their society. The wax fabrics come from a long history of cloth trade between Europe and ‘exotic’ places, such as West Africa. The displays of status are demonstrated on important cultural events such as religious holidays, baptisms and weddings, just to name a few. This presentation discusses the effects of globalization on the fashion of the area, as well as how these external markers present identity and status to their audience.