Potières d’Afrique, Musée des Confluences, Lyon

Pot for preparing beer, Pendogeri, Nigeria, 1993

I was attracted to this pot by the beautiful black patterns on it made by the dying flames in the kiln. The pot is part of a temporary exhibition at the Musée des Confluences in Lyon entitled Potières d’Afrique, Africa’s Female Potters, which tells the story of West African women who make beautiful clay pots for everyday use. I was interested to read that “in Africa, the black marks left by fire reduction are not appreciated as a rule. The opposite is true, however, for western collectors, who prize such traces of the ceramic process”.

As I sat drawing I was approached by the gallery steward who told me about his childhood in a pottery in Africa (I didn’t take in which part). He talked about playing with clay, making little pots, and how he learnt about geometry and maths through his play.

Being an anthropologist, I have fallen in love with the Musée des Confluences, and hope to return for more exhibitions, more drawing and more interesting encounters…

P.S. As well as writing this blog post, I have written a review of the museum for the wonderful Kids in Museums. Check it out here.



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