Musée des confluences

Female potters of Africa

A temporary exhibition from June 28, 2016 to April 30, 2017

“Ceramics is a total art that blends everything: earth, water, the body, tradition, daily life, fire, fragments of bowls and the gods.” Camille Virot

The exhibition offers us a journey going out to meet the female potters of West Africa and their products. Eleven European potters made this journey 20 years ago. They brought back pottery, several hours of film, field notes and numerous photographs that the museum still keeps today.

This exhibition highlights approximately sixty of these pieces of bulbous pottery, carefully decorated or, on the contrary, left as they are. These objects for ordinary use carry in them both the humbleness of the everyday and a plastic beauty conducive to contemplation. They are also pretexts to explore the know-how of these female potters. This ensemble of gestures is the fruit of something handed down from generation to generation which is able to adapt to new uses.

In the shadow of the house, in a courtyard, alone or in a group, these women fashion, decorate and bake the pots that afterwards go to houses as recipients for water, beer, wine, cereals or to cook with.

Thanks to the films and the photographs which punctuate the exhibition we can follow their itineraries from the clay’s extraction from the ground, at the origin of all creation, up to the pot’s being sold on a market, an opening on the world in general.


© Association ARgile