Wall Paintings

The Wall decorations are a very unique expression of the cultural identity of Sirigu. Women take pride in making the houses of the husbands beautiful. During the rainy seasons the women come together in order to paint the houses. Newly built rooms have to be painted, but also older houses have to be repainted every three years as the colours are not durable.

Wall decoration

The designs are made of abstract geometrical and stylized animal figures or objects. They can be painted on a flat surface or in relief. The colours used are black, red and white. These colours are made of the minerals and materials that are locally available. Black is a sign of power, red the sign of danger and white the sign of purity. Black clothes are worn at funerals, but, contrary to its meaning in western societies, this colour does not mean sadness. It is the recognition of changes in life: death, reincarnation, ancestral power, tradition and memories.

Cow | Naafo

The cows typically pictured in Sirigu paintings have a hump on the back. More than any other animal, cows are the symbol of wealth. They are kept as capital for the family, are used to pay bride prices for women and are rarely consumed as meat. Cows help to plough the farm and carry products to the houses. Milk is used only in exceptional cases.

Python | Waafo

The python stands for protection. Some clans in Sirigu have it as their totem, symbolizing life and death. They worship the python and do not eat it. The python does not disturb humans unless it is tempted. There are two legends about the pythons. It comes to welcome a newly married woman to her husband’s home by lying on her lap. And, the python coils with its tail in the middle and the tail outside, so it can lull a crying baby to sleep by putting its tail into the baby’s mouth to suck.

Crocodile | Eebga

Crocodiles symbolize the saving of life of a clan and they are worshipped by people of some clans as a special god. Crocodiles are sometimes be seen near dams in the Sirigu area. In traditional paintings, the crocodile can have one or two heads.

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