Posted on Leave a comment

Guinea-Bissau

There is quite a bit that can be said about Guinea-Bissau but here we will focus very briefly on the arts culture side of this lovely place on Earth, more specifically Africa!

Guinea-Bissau is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west.

Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Kaabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were under some rule by the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century. In the 19th century, it was colonised as Portuguese Guinea. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognised in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country’s name to prevent confusion with Guinea (formerly French Guinea).

Speaking about tribal art of the area, the Bijagós people are famous for their traditions of mask making (such as bull, cow and hippo masks) and sculpture – you will see these come out in carnival season. Statues representing irans (great spirits) are used in connection with agricultural and initiation rituals.

Photo: Young Bijagos Islands men perform ritual dances to attract wives in this matriarchal society. Most other ethnic groups in Guinea-Bissau are patriarchal.
Young Bijagos Islands men perform ritual dances to attract wives in this matriarchal society. Most other ethnic groups in Guinea-Bissau are more patriarchal.

Bijago art or Bidyogo art is African tribal art produced by the natives of the Bijagos Islands of Guinea-Bissau. It includes many artifacts for daily use and ritual practices, following a traditional iconography that is unique to their culture, but shows variations from island to island. Such art pieces are known as Bidyogo art and their unique aesthetics make Bidyogo art distinctive from all other African tribal art with the exception of the nearby Baga people who share some of the iconography (and are considered a “related tribe” by Bacquart).

There are a lot of websites with further information about Guinea-Bissau if you are interested to learn more, such as:

https://www.everyculture.com/Ge-It/Guinea-Bissau.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *