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(American, b. 1953)
Gelatin silver print, triptych
Image: 50 x 49.6 cm (19 11/16 x 19 1/2 in.); Paper: 50.2 x 50.2 cm (19 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2000.89
© Carrie Mae Weems
Since the late 1970s, Carrie Mae Weems has challenged society’s stereotypes about gender, race, and class through photographs and texts she often assembles with objects into compelling installations. During her first trip to Africa in 1993, she photographed the vestiges of slavery along the coast of Ghana and Senegal as well as the entry ways, towers, and corridors of Djenné, Mali, one of the oldest urban sites in Western Africa. She was particularly taken by the city’s distinctive, ancient architecture and the buildings’ ability to suggest gender specificity - "male and female space." In this summary work from Weems’s Africa Series, she flanked a detail image of a mosque and its protruding towers with two close-up views of sensual entrances and openings on the façades of granaries. She skillfully created both a beautiful formal record of a physical place and its culture and a stimulating narrative that evokes identity and human interaction.
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