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The art of the Groupe Bogolan Kasobané is inspired by the context in which the work is conceived and elaborated. It is the consequence of a collective inspiration, the joy of the work and is rooted in the community tradition of Malian society. It is this intimate and specific connection to Malian culture that distinguishes the art of the Groupe. The work blooms in the symbiosis of traditional and contemporary art.
This is an art layered with meanings some of which are universal and others of which are culturally specific. The Groupe's exploration is of a visual language of symbols through the rescuing, invention and juxtaposition of symbols. This sharing is of a dialogue that is partly knowable and partly secret. Even without knowing the significance of the symbols, the works hold as paintings. An understanding and appreciation of Malian history, culture and tradition adds specificity to the work and aids in the protection of the symbols. This work is demanding in the best sense of the word, you see it at once and it also unfolds with patience over time.
With their collective creations, the artists of the Groupe go beyond the individualism, the subjectivity and the îI' that comes from the West. In the artistic practice of the Groupe, whether the inspiration is collective or individual, there is always the intervention of the Groupe in the points of disagreement and difficulty that inevitably arise. When the sources of inspiration are collective, the composition is executed communally as well and the final realization is given to one of the members of the Groupe who is the most interested in the chosen theme. The work is always finished by the whole group.
Over the course of the Groupe's twenty years of collective work and with the close ties that have developed between the artists, the reciprocal influences have played an important role in unifying the work of the Groupe. This work has become a school of thought, a source of solidarity and a place of transmission that is ripe for inspiration both for the Groupe itself and for other artists as well.
Although the members of the Groupe were formally trained in art, and know and admire the works of the major artists of the world, their originality has been in their refusal of painting, the easel, perspective, chemical colors and all other external elements for the ancestral ways of representation. Their singularity, as contemporary artists, has been to develop a responsible artistic conscience in the face of social turbulence within which is the power to crush people and decompose fundamental virtues.
The bogolan canvas is a mosaic of fantasy and reality, encompassing a proverb, a legend, a grand theme or a real situation. As a contemporary art, the works of the Groupe address the contradictions of Malian society today. The bands of cotton woven by the ancestors, drawn by contemporary artists, are a point of connection for tradition and an imagined future.