Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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7 / Domestic Life

Bag (taghrek)
Bag (taghrek)
Artist / Origin Andi Ouhoulou (Tuareg, Kel Ewey, n.d.), Agadez, Niger
Region: Africa
Date 2004
Material Leather, pigment, metal
Dimensions H: 40 in. (102 cm.), W: 24 in. (61 cm.), D: 2 in. (5.1 cm.)
Location Private Collection
Credit Courtesy of Thomas Seligman, Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

expert perspective

Thomas K. SeligmanDirector of Cantor Arts for the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University

Bag (taghrek)

» Andi Ouhoulou (Tuareg, Kel Ewey, n.d.), Agadez, Niger

expert perspective

Thomas K. Seligman Thomas K. Seligman Director of Cantor Arts for the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University

The Tuareg are a nomadic pastoral people whose central homeland is the middle of the Sahara in the countries today of Southern Algeria, Northern Niger, Eastern Mali and a little bit of Southwestern Libya. You have a specialist group of people, the inadan, whose job it is to make things with a fairly limited repertoire of materials that they work with. The inadan are both men and women, and they marry in and amongst themselves. So the women are primarily responsible for the leather side and then the men more the metal and animals—women more domestic. Their job was to make things for the Tuareg to use.

They move a lot in a harsh environment, so the stuff has to be durable. It has to function absolutely well—has to be lightweight, quite portable, easily manipulated, transported. So, what do they make? Pastoral people have animals, so they make leather things—bags, tents, camel trappings, saddles for camels; they make very elaborate decorative bags. For a pastoral nomadic people that live in a tough, harsh environment where resources are very scarce, your first considerations have to be functionality. But they always make it more. They make it more beautiful.” 


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