A Bird Dance Near Saturday City: Sidi Ballo and the Art of West African Masquerade

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Indiana University Press, 2008 - Art - 300 pages
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In 1978, Patrick McNaughton witnessed a bird dance masquerade in the small town of Dogoduman. He was so affected by this performance that its dazzling artistic power has never left him. As he revisits that very special evening in A Bird Dance near Saturday City, McNaughton carefully considers the components of the performance, its pace, the performers, and what the entire experience means for understandings of Bamana and West African aesthetics and culture. The performance of virtuoso dancer Sidi Ballo becomes McNaughton's vehicle for understanding the power of individuals in African art and the power of aesthetics as a cultural phenomenon. Topics such as what makes art effective, what makes it "good," how production is wrapped in individual virtuosity, and what individual artistry suggests about society reveal how individuals work together to create the indelible experience of outstanding performance. This exuberant and captivating book will influence views of society, culture, art, history, and their makers in West Africa for years to come.

 

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Contents

An Explosion of Art at Dogoduman
1
1 The Performance
13
2 How to View a Bird Dance
31
3 Sidi Ballo at Dogoduman
67
4 A Closer Look at Sidi Ballo
80
5 Individuals Intertwined
106
6 Sidi Ballos Aesthetic Milieu
127
7 Form Reconsidered in Mande Light
145
9 An Aesthetic of Affect
191
10 Expanding the Beholders Share
215
11 An Atmosphere for Sidi Ballos Bird Dance
232
Bird Masquerading Is Alive and Well
253
Notes
263
Bibliography
273
Index
289
Copyright

8 A Mande Aesthetic Profile
158

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About the author (2008)

Patrick McNaughton is Chancellor's Professor of African Art at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is author of Mande Blacksmiths (IUP, 1988).

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