Lisbet Holtedahl is my name - I am the founder and leader of Madame Lisbet.
Currently I am professor emerita at the University of Tromsø, Norway. I have worked as an anthropologist and filmmaker for more than 40 years in Africa: Niger, Mali, Cameroon, as well as in Northern Norway. I have lived in North Cameroon for much of the year for 35 years and I have my compound there.
Today I have a big African ‘family’. We have daily contact. Some of my ‘children’ from Africa have been to Tromsø. Together with other Cameroonian students, they have been educated at our Center for Visual Cultural Studies at the University of Tromsø.
I have written articles and books and made films about women in Africa. Next to this text, Scandinavian-speaking viewers can watch Niger - Norway - a film I made in 1975, and which draws a comparison between the lives of African and Norwegian women. It shows that despite differences, there are many similarities, which allow us to understand each other.
As an artist - drawing and painting - I have always been engaged in African crafts. I have found local jewelry, silverware and beads fascinating. Many people have come to me and sold their artwork to earn much-needed income.
In recent years, I have gradually bought old and new beads from women in Ngaoundéré town as well as from nomads and peasants in rural areas. Local traders travelling all over West- and Central Africa visit me regularly and sell their beads.
Around 2006, in collaboration with silversmiths and nomadic Fulani women whom I have known for many years, I started producing Madame Lisbet jewelry in Ngaoundéré. Friends and acquaintances in Norway, Denmark, France and Africa have shown great interest, and I have now established a collection of jewelry that I wish to sell.
Under the ´Artists´ section of this website, you can see some of the young women selecting and assembling beads. Together we create the designs for different necklaces. In this way, the women have an own income and become less vulnerable and powerless.
Please watch Niger-Norway (1975), a film made by Lisbet Holtedahl.