Brett-Smith, Sarah

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Professor Brett-Smith’s most recent book is The Silence of the Women: Bamana Mud Cloths (Five Continents Press, 2014). This fully illustrated volume documents an in-depth field investigation of female dyeing that balances her previous work on the production of ritual sculpture by Bamana men. The Silence of the Women discusses the technique of painting cloth with mud, the symbolism of the designs on the cloth, and the important role of ritually charged mud cloth at critical moments -- excision, marriage, childbirth and death -- in women's lives. Read from beginning to end it describes the entirety of women’s lives among the Bamana – difficult, harsh in many respects, but also characterized by great affection for other women and respect for those who have achieved a deep level of knowledge.
Professor Brett-Smith’s publications also include: The Making of Bamana Sculpture: Creativity and Gender, Cambridge University Press, 1994 -- winner of the Arnold J. Rubin Award for the most outstanding book on African Art, 1993, awarded by the Arts Council of the African Studies Association, and winner of Honorable Mention for the 1995 Victor Turner Prize, awarded by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, The Artfulness of M'Fa Jigi: An Interview with Nyamaton Diarra (University of Wisconsin Press, 1996), and "The Mouth of the Komo," RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, 31 (1997): 71. Dr. Brett-Smith is currently working on an article dealing with concepts of personhood and the “Demoiselles D’Avignon.” Early articles and the introduction to Dr. Brett-Smith's 1994 book, The Making of Bamana Sculpture, can be downloaded from Dr. Brett-Smith’s page on Academia.edu.
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