Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sometimes all things seem to converge: it is that way with the 8th of April this year. We have Helen Skinner, a paper conservator from Sweden arriving, on a small grant given to MaliMali to investigate what is needed to begin conservation work at the library. She will work with a Garba Traor√©, a Malian conservator from the Ahmed Baba institute.
At the same time we will have Eva Brozovski, also a conservator,  from the University of Hamburg, who will be here inshallah, and she will be working with Yelfa on the  new fascinating field of research that we identified last time she was here: the traditional inks of Djenn√©, mainly derived from the plants of the neighbourhood. Here is Yelfa, throwing out all the old Chinese ink that was left, and washing the pots, in order to put the new inks in- the inks that he is preparing according to the old nearly forgotten recipes- not all are from plants: he was also preparing a yellow ink from gun powder!
We had a James, an ecologist from Montpellier at the hotel a couple of weeks ago. He suggested that I extend the research to include the plants that are used for the traditional dyes- in fact the dye matter we use for the bogolan. He put me in contact with a collegue of his at the University of Bamako,  M. Fadiala Dembele , who is an expert on the plants of the Sahel. He will come and give an address on the plants of the area from a perspective of their ecological significance.


Blogger mary said...

Fascinating stuff. All about the dyes and plants and medecines. Wish that I had an expertise to share and could come and join the sharing of ideas.I have a French friend who is a conservator of paintings and therefore paper perhaps I could come as his messenger!
And so to Algeria.If it has not already been suggested 'Of Gods and Men' is a brilliant film set in Algeria. based on a true story it certainly hits the emotions as it traverses good times and bad times. I shall say no more except to recommend it.
Happy travels and meanwhile keep the insider information flowing from Mali.
Greetings from the Northumberland coast and hills,

9:27 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

I wish you could come too!
And 'Of Gods and Men' is indeed one of the films I have watched in preparation for Algeria- I agree with you: it is a great film.

10:43 PM  
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5:18 AM  

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