Artists Workshop

Thursday, 3 Feb. 2011
La Vernissage 
(Varnishing, aka Opening Reception or First Viewing)
Fondation Festival Sur Le Niger 
2011 Artists' Workshop

Artists: Anna Read (UK), Wren Miller (UK), Hama Goro (Bamako), Issa Kone (Segou), Leslie Lumeh (Liberia), Amara Sylla (Bamako), Amaghire Dolo (Segou) and Ana Edwards (USA)
Curator: Amadou Chab Toure (Segou).
Woke up at 10:27 am to make our 11 am opening!!! Gingembre/niamoukuji and vodka is delicious but unless you plan to sleep til noon, don't do it. Wore the orange bubu and yellow Tuareg scarf (6 feet of light cotton) – one of two I bought last night at the festival because the dust is trying to kill me - it's amazing more people aren't debilitated by lung disorders. Format included a ribbon-cutting at the entrance and Chab giving a brief description of the work of each artist in turn followed by shaking hands with the Governor and his minister of culture (I'll have to check that) and the Festival director, Mamou Daffe. Ina wasn't there, working I'm sure. Got lots of photos. Daffe said he'd like to have one of the pieces in his house because it would represent a success in the jumelage between the two cities. We spent 2 hours there shmoozing and chatting with visitors. I must have explained the meaning of the work at least 7 times in French, each time slightly different – it seemed to depend upon who I was talking to – I almost think I did the best job with Oussou because I know I need to keep it brief with him. Mme Diao was there as was Yah and the young woman from Indiana who is doing PhD work on a local artist. She's living now in DC and volunteered to help with any classroom education projects for VFOM in northern VA. Kida came after the crowd had gone so we had a few moments to chat. He'd seen the works in progress, but not the final piece. 

Fondation Festival Sur Le Niger 
2011 Artists' Workshop
25 Jan - 1 Feb 2011
Theme: The Soil (La Terre)

LOCATION: Animy Sculpture - Atelier of Amaghire Dolo, Sebougou-Segou, Mali
24 Jan: Day of Introductions, Conversations and Waiting

Lunch with Chab, Caty, Wren, Dolo, Hama, Issa...
(not pictured: Anna, Leslie, Amsyl, me)

After lunch, at the Fondation with Cheikh (in charge of provisioning the artists and musicians) and members of Abdoulaye Konate's master class.

The Fondation is located on the river, so many hours were passed watching river activities, usually fishing and transport.  It was a restful day that turned restless. I was anxious to get to work.

Skewed views from upstairs overlooking rear courtyard. LtoR: Doorway to studio; Storage building (?) that obscures view of toilet; Another (?) storage building with well to its left. We all learned to haul water.

Day 1 / 25 Jan: Canvases were stretched and folks got to work. Dolo and Kone teaching by doing: Grinding charcoal into powder with my new mortar and pestle.Unnamed onlooker.

 Ana learning by doing.

View of mortiere and the Niger (Djoliba) from my studio doorway.

After a long day with the artists...Mohamed, Kida and me in front of the house on Rue 104. 
Madouin, Fati's younger brother, took the photo.

Réclamation: Pavage, Déchées, Pavage et la Terre 1
fini 28 Janvier 2011 – represents my first responses to the contradictions of putting my feet on African soil for the first time and experiencing the city's streets « paved » in dust, plastic bags and bottles, all the beauty pushed to the periphery. The small plastic sacs that hold ginger, bissap and mango juices (beautiful shades of beige, majenta and orange) are dropped or tossed aside to become crushed and beige in the streets, becoming paving for the foot trafic of daily life.
Réclamation: Pavage, Déchées, Pavage et la Terre 2
fini 30 Janvier 2011 – a geographic or cartographic view of the struggle between the earth and pollution, a river separates two active states of being in Mali – the richness of the Mali's ressources (both natural and human-made) and the constant threat of pollution – representing the shock of seeing a beautiful countryside along the river dotted with trees filled with birds that later turned out to be flocks of black plastic bags, and the emotional struggle to deal with last week's thefts from the atelier that incorporated cultural, ethical and personal paradigms.
Réclamation: Pavage, Déchées, Pavage et la Terre 3
fini 1 Fevrier 2011 – referencing earth-bricked and earth-surfaced architecture of Segou/Mali as it encounters the trash of daily living, this piece represents in a way an optimism in the apparent disorder in the swirl of trash, activity, ambition and negligence, vision and impatience.