Nigeriens have a keen support for their arts, from the traditional handicraft arts to the modern styles. From the early days, traditional arts like jewelry making, pottery, and leather making have held a certain importance to Nigeriens. These types of art are not only found in the markets but they’re also supported by the National Museum and other arts cooperatives.
Tuareg art of Niger is dominated with many of these types of handicrafts. They would create many items they needed from leather, wood, and metal. Because they were a nomadic tribe of people, they didn’t make masks like other West African peoples. The large masks were too impractical. Instead they created beautifully crafted items they used everyday, like bags, pouches, mats, bowls, jars, saddles, posts, tools, and other items for practical use.
One famous artist is a Tuareg painter by the name of Rissa Ixa. He went on to found the briefly named Association for the Promotion and Development of Traditional Arts and Cultures in Niger. Another painter who has risen to prominence is Hausa artist Maradi, whose work typically tends to focus on sociopolitical issues.
Literature in Niger as we know it is relatively a recent development. The first novel wasn’t published until 1959. Most of the novels that emerged are centered around socio-political themes and the after-effects of colonialism. The majority of literature is written in French, which helps with its ability to be published and sold among the Francophone countries. But there are also many examples of literature written in other local languages as well. Today, writers produce a variety of genres from children's lit to serious novels.
Before the colonial period, their stories were passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation. Most of these stories are tales to teach a lesson or tell their history through a person called a griot. They also have their own proverbs and riddles as well. They actually had quite a few genres they worked with from poetry to theatre.
Up next: music and dance