The Bronze Men of Cameroon (Les Hommes de Bronze du Cameroun)
A portrait of bronze casting as a valued traditional practice that defines the identity of the Bamum People in the Western Region of Cameroon. Bronze Men of Cameroon presents bronze craftsmen at work and rare insights into their expertise in producing unique bronze sculptures that are inscribed with symbolic images and narratives of collective memory, identity and the Bamum character. It is also about threats to cultural continuity as global trends negatively impact on indigenous practices. The bronze craftsmen are facing challenges in sustaining and safeguarding their unique cultural heritage that has formed their collective social memory. Bronze casting activities are slowly declining. The foundries are closing down. Some bronze artists are turning to farming and other trades. The artisans are fearful that bronze art craft could disappear and, with it, their tradition and their sense of belonging that has defined their identity, culture, and history for many generations.
Florence Ayisi was born in Cameroon. She is professor of International Documentary Film at the University of South Wales, teaching diverse aspects of documentary history and theory and documentary film production. Her vision for making documentary films is to decolonize the images and ideas about Africa from Pan-African and woman-centered perspectives.