DOGON: Africa's People of the Cliffs, Walter E.A.
van Beek, Photographs by Stephenie Hollyman
In a remote area of Mali the people called Dogon survive
today as they have for thousands of years: in mud-brick
houses below the Bandiagara cliffs. In the sandy plains,
they grow the millet and sorghum they need to live. This
photographic portrait allows us to view their traditional
way of life, remarkably maintained today even after extensive
contact with Western civilization.
Hollyman's pictures show a tightly knit, cooperative
society engaging in daily activities and sacred rituals:
planting and harvesting crops, creating crafts, and performing
varied religious ceremonies, most notably the masked dances
with which the Dogon celebrate the burial of their dead.
Van Beek's narrative displays the authority and observant
eye of an anthropologist who has long lived among the people
he writes about.