What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word 'Africa?' Sun? Jungle? Zebra? Foufou? Dust? War? Starvation? Vacation?
For me, that word is COLOR. Everywhere I have been on this great continent, I have found that the locals, especially women, reject the mundane and monotone for the multi chromatic and the brilliant, the bland for the bold and the simple for the elaborate. This is done with the help of what in Burkina Faso is called 'pagne,' cloth of infinite patterns and colors that is sold by the yard and stitched into intricate outfits by armies of local tailors. Pagne can be found all over sub-saharan Africa, though most of it today is made and shipped from China. During market day in Solenzo, I can comb through the pagne stalls for hours, knowing that every week will bring new models and colors.
Burkinabé women take this responsibility to color very seriously, especially during a special event. During a 'fête' in Solenzo, you may find yourself enveloped in a kaleidoscope of well dressed and coiffed women, their dresses, skirts and head wraps rivaled only by their jewelry and bright makeup. During the double Catholic whammy of Fall baptism and Assumption Day, I couldn't let so many magnificently dressed women go un-photographed. Perhaps after you see the array of photos below, you too will come to associate the words 'Africa' and 'color.'