Amazigh Women’s Arts: Visual Expressions of Berber Identity

Until the mid-20th century, Berber women in North Africa created and wore the aesthetic and symbolic forms that make Amazigh identity unique. Women dressed in silver, amber, and coral jewelry, which proclaimed status, wealth, and group belonging. They incorporated symbols and colors related to female fertility into their textiles, clothing, tattoos, and hairstyles as expressions of female agency. This talk uses women’s visual arts to consider the creative legacy of Berbers to North African history. Despite societal influences that have changed daily life, women continue to produce and use ancestral artistic forms, especially during rural weddings, demonstrating the crucial role women continue to play in preserving Amazigh (Berber) heritage.

Cynthia Becker is an associate professor of African art at Boston University. She is a scholar of African arts specializing in the arts of the Imazighen (Berbers) in northwestern Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, and Niger, and the author of Amazigh Arts in Morocco: Women Shaping Berber Identity (University of Texas Press, 2006).

$10; $5 My Mia members, free for African Art Affinity Group members. Click here for tickets.