Monday, September 24, 2018

"The Dancing Sowei" in Sierra Leone (short film shown at art museum at Stanford University)

The Cantor Museum on the Stanford University campus offers, on the second floor, a shocking short video “The Dancing Sowei: Performing Beauty in Sierra Leone.”

The film describes family culture in the west African country, which includes rites of passage for both sexes and the obsession with making women marriagble to men. The customs may include female circumcision. The West is aghast at this, but there is a question as to whether previously colonial powers should change culture that is “African.”

Shown here in video is a similar British Museum film “Sowei Mask: The Spirit of Sierra Leone”.
Sierra Leone has a sodomy law that applies to men only, but is supposedly not enforced.
In 2000 Sebastian Junger wrote about the civil war in Sierra Leone, which was hit hard by the 2014 Ebola epidemic.
The Anderson Collection Museum, right next door, also has a short film on the subject of art collection, for the sake of collection (like my record collection and then CD’s when I was younger). There some discussion of abstract art forms, particularly of Jason Pollock and others, and of the differences between East and West Coast art. 

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