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This workshop, entitled ”In the footsteps of Malian students sent to the East”, allowed six Malian photographers to immerse themselves into history and embark on the traces of Malians who had gone to study in the USSR in the 1960’s.

When Mali gained independence in June 1960, the country found itself on the great world stage in the middle of the Cold War. The Malian government, headed by the socialist Modibo Keita, signed a cooperation agreement with the Soviet government. The Lumumba University, named after the leader of the Congolese struggle for independence, was then created in Moscow. Many young people were sent there to study in various fields and then return home.

Thus, each photographer investigated the past of his model, and followed him at his home nowadays, in his daily life in Mali.

For example, Seydou Camara invited the fimmaker Souleymane Cisse who studied at the VGIK (the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography) in Moscow, and shared his memories.

Lassine Coulibaly, better known under the name of Fototala King Massassy, followed and explored the past of Oumar Diallo a.k.a. Birus, ex-bodyguard of the Malian President in the 1980’s, then Director of State Security.

As for John Kalapo, his approach is more personal: he traced the incredible life of his father Amadou Kalapo who is now deceased. In this way, the son pays tribute to his father, former student at the Aerospace University of Kiev, then pilot for Air Mali …

Seyba Keita wanted to photograph someone who had worked for the country: he followed Bédié Diarra, in the USSR from 1967 to 1969 with the last promotion in the East at the epoque of President Modibo Keita, and graduated major of his promotion of political studies.

Concerning Kany Sissoko, she wanted to transcribe, with her photographic writing, the artistic singularity of Oumar Camara, an excellent student who had received a grant in 1979 to study history at the faculty of St. Petersburg and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts at the same time, wishing to become an artist first and foremost.

Fatoumata Traore went back in time together with Mamadou Habib Ballo who got a scholarship of the Soviet Union in 1981 and entered the Surikov Art Institute of Moscow where he promoted after 7 years of study of a Master in Graphic Arts, with illustration of children’s books as speciality.

This exhibition, still under the curation of Françoise Huguier, who directed the project from beginning to end, presents more than one hundred photographs reproducing the work of artists, gathering archival documents, portraits of former students at the time and nowadays … for a historical and geopolitical journey through memories.

photographs by Seydou CAMARA, Fototala King MASSASSY, John KALAPO, Seyba KEITA, Kany SISSOKO, Fatoumata TRAORE

From 08/02/2019 to 04/05/2019
384 Avenue des Argiles / ZI les Bourguignons
84400 APT

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