This project spanned three trips to the district of Bamako, the capital of Mali, between April 2013 and April 2015. The subject is “street children”, a growing problem throughout West Africa. The project was initiated in collaboration with Mamadou Touré, director of the association “Sinjiya-ton Mali” which works for the social and professional rehabilitation of children living on the streets.
During my first visit, (April to June 2013), along with members of the association, we organised photographic workshops to give the children the opportunity to relate their daily lives through photography, drawings and prose.
The actors of the project, a group of ten children, were aged from 11 to 16 years old. Some had already moved into the association’s homes, while others were in the process of doing so. The girls all lived outside the centre.
One of the association’s mediators, Moussa Coulibaly, took care of the psychological side of the work with the children, as well as translating their stories from the “bambara” dialect. He also served as intermediary between me and the children.
The ten children were all given a camera. They then came to the centre for some lessons on classical film photography (visit to a development laboratory, understanding lighting, framing and angles of view, etc.), and some workshops on drawing.
With Moussa, we held interviews with each of the children in the form of open discussion around their photos and drawings: that generated the captions for the various booklets*.
I continued the project on my second trip (from October 2014 to January 2015), with three of the children who had left the association to go back to life on the streets, and Rokia, one of the young girls.
Having lost track of them, I went off looking for them in the streets of Bamako. Once I had found them, our workshops and interviews were held wherever they happened to be living.
During my third trip, from February to April 2015, I did some portraits of children at night, with the help of three children with whom I had already worked on my previous visits. They were a great help to me, as much for the photo shoots as for assisting with meeting other children. The final booklet* (number 9) in the series covers this part of the project.
*The project led to nine booklets and a dictionary: 8 booklets containing the images and texts by the children, one with my own pictures and a dictionary covering the definitions of terms used by the children as well as a guide to understanding the context of Malian culture.
It was I who selected the images and texts that make up these booklets. I hope that the result is what the children intended.
photographs by Arnold GROJEAN
Opening: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 from 6pm to 9pm From 14/03/2018 to 28/04/2018 Galerie FAIT & CAUSE 58 rue Quincampoix 75004 Paris France