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Artist Profile: Moussa Fofana

Moussa Fofana participated in the 2011 Folklife Festival. He was born in 1976 in Douentza, Mopti, and later moved with his family to the San department of Ségou. A family tradition, bogolan artistry runs in Fofana’s blood.  In his words, “I can say that I was born bogolan maker.” As a child, he remembers neighbors bringing white cotton textiles for his parents and grandparents. Beginning at age seven, he and his sisters assisted their parents in their work. After his sisters married and left his home town, he took over the workshop and now his four sons are his apprentices. 

Fofana’s studio prints older symbols as well as newer innovations and even some adhikra symbols from Ghana that are popular among American tourists. He usually buys the white fabric from the market, and then sells it in stores in San, Mopti, or Bamako, the capital. He has demonstrated in craft festivals around Mali and in Burkina Faso. In 2008, he worked on mud cloth bags with several other artists and Peace Corps volunteers for a Hallmark Cards project under the (Red) label, which was established to combat HIV/AIDS.  The team produced about 120,000 bags for the organization. He also has taught women in his village how to make bogolan through a local NGO. 

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Moussa Fofana instructs Festival-goers in the bogolan arts. Photo by Ryann Dear