Thursday, January 09, 2014

If you build it, they will come…

Or at least that is how it worked in one of my old favourite Hollywood movies : Field of Dreams.
But perhaps it only works when it comes to Baseball ? I am hoping it will work for Calligraphy too…

It’s like this : True to my reckless nature I have gone and promised the Djenné  Manuscript Library that MaliMali will sponsor the second Djenné Calligraphy competition for this year’s Maoloud , the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed which goes on for three weeks with melodious chanting from all the Djenné Koran schools every night (one of my favourite times of the Djenné year) . The competition has been announced on Djenné radio in four languages and it is open to everyone. MaliMali will finance this to the tune of 300 000FCFA- around 430 E. But we don’t have the money ! Yes, I know I am irresponsible, but I am certain we will find it somehow- it is not the first time I have launched an appeal here, after all !
( By the way, the appeal to fund the Trachoma operations once more yielded more than enough from kind readers of this journal, and we have not yet finished – there are about 30 more operations to be done. The second phase will start at the beginning of February when Keita is here ; more pictures then !)

So here is the idea :
Ever since I went to Gomitogo the other day ( and saw the fabulous chest with the beautiful Koran I have been thinking that if the calligraphy of Djenné could once more reach such perfection there is no reason why the right people would not pay literally millions (CFA) for something like that.
It would be a gift for princes.
I could see IBK offering one such to the Sultan of Brunei on a state visit for example.
The thing that  now needs to be done is to instill the idea of the value of traditional calligraphy  to a people who have forgotten,  since although Arabic writing still goes on here in the Koran schools, nobody commissions great works any longer. For the last fifty years people are just photocopying . Calligraphy is seen as something superceded. It needs to be revived as an exquisite luxury article and an artform. This could actually become  a commercial proposition eventually- but for the moment we need some dosh just for the competition !

The rules of our competition say that only traditional inks are to be used- anything else will be dis- qualified. The judging date is set for the 25th of this month and the price-giving ceremony at the Library for the 26th.
If anyone is interested, please send what you can afford ! look up  and go to ‘projects’ page.

Finally,I have asked that the Surat no 93 be used- people can chose to write it all, or just a portion. It reminds me of our 23rd Psalm :


Blogger Susan Scheid said...

Sophie: Just back at my computer proper to make a donation, but it's not letting it go through. The site is wanting a county (in addition to a country), but the county listing is only for UK, etc. Can this be fixed?

4:55 PM  

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