Traditional Malian outfits

Marietou Mariet Dicko Ambassador of Bogolan

Bogolan is a very old traditional fabric of vegetable dye. It is used in West Africa, more precisely in Mali and Burkina Faso. Coming from the meeting of clay, forest (roots, leaves, ink) and cotton.

In fact, the word “ bɔgɔlan” , from the language bambara (the most widely spoken language in Mali), comes from the words” bɔgɔ “ the land, and” lan “, a bambara suffix with no equivalent in French meaning “from.” Chris Seydou made the one that gave it its brilliance. After him, young Malian designers such as Marietou Mariette Dicko and others as best they can continue his work.

His real name Seydou Nourou Doumbia, Chris Seydou was born in 1949 in Kati but lived part of his childhood in Ouagadougou. Endowed with fascinating creativity from childhood, the bogolan was the focal point of his creations.

This process of wanting to create local with local products was part of a logic of resistance to globalization. With him, traditional Malian clothing, especially Bogolan, made ground on Western fashion in Africa. Guided by his fierce love for fashion, Chris Seydou flew to Paris in 1971, where he worked for Yves Saint-Laurent, then at Mic Mac with stylist Tan Giudicelli and also Paco Rabanne. He returned to Mali in 1990 where he died four years later in Bamako.

Marietou Mariette DICKO is an accomplished artist, mastering all areas of creation in an interview she was kind enough to answer our three questions on bogolan

1-) The bogolan a work of Titans?

The work of Bogolan is art: creativity, precision to achieve the most beautiful fabrics.

Bogolan is an artisanal dyeing / painting technique that is obtained with decoctions of trees and earth that can be affixed to different fabrics in hand-woven cotton or cotton produced by factories.

Bogolan is certainly an art and a culture linked to the Malian identity of the Bambara, Malinke, Dogon, Senoufo ethnic groups.

Bogolan motifs are most often Bambara and Dogon ideograms.

Strategies must be put in place to reverse the perception of bogolan by Malians themselves in order to get them to use bogolan in fashion and decoration, therefore to enhance bogolan.

2-) What does Bogolan represent in terms of Malian identity?

The cultural identity of Mali by the dyeing technique is the Bogolan ancestral property of my country. The history of Bogolan is authentic Mali.

The signs drawn on handcrafted fabrics only centuries ago are interpretations of the lives of our ancestors as if to describe life and convey messages.

3-) What is the role and place of bogolan in Malian culture?

The role of Bogolan, in Mali, I specify in Mali, is limited to its recognition of its Malian authenticity and admiration for Malians “who dare to wear it”.

The role of Bogolan should be the creation of wealth, of jobs, if the Malians had appropriated its development in Mali. The place of Bogolan in the economy of Mali is almost insignificant in Malian culture. It remains emblematic of course, but the Bogolan is not widely valued in Mali.


Fadimata Oumar Kontao

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