Tanners and Wrestlers – Regards Sur Cours, Gorée island

For the 12th edition of Regards sur Cours on Gorée island, Senegal, I decided to focus on two male communities: the tanners in Niger and the wrestlers in Senegal. Seven days out of seven, under any kind of weather, from extreme heat to torrential rains, tanners smooth and wash the skins in the Niger River before drying and dyeing them for only few hundred CFA francs a day . Hardly enough to survive and feed their families. The young wrestlers in Dakar neighbourhoods or villages in the Sine Saloum region, for their part, are engaged in intensive daily training and iron discipline, hoping one day to become professionals and fight against well-known wrestlers in crowded stadiums. Against all odds, these two communities of men defy their destinies and strive to work tirelessly for a better life.

Pour la douzième édition de Regards sur Cours sur l’ile de Gorée, au Sénégal,  je m’intéresse à deux mondes masculins : les tanneurs du Niger et les lutteurs du Sénégal. Sept jours sur sept, quelque soit le temps, de la chaleur extrême aux pluies diluviennes, les tanneurs lissent et lavent les peaux dans le fleuve Niger avant de les sécher et de les teindre pour un salaire de misère, quelques centaines de francs CFA par jour. A peine de quoi survivre et nourrir leur familles. Les jeunes lutteurs des quartiers de Dakar ou des villages du SinéSaloum s’astreignent, quant à eux, àdes entrainements journaliers intensifs et une discipline de fer, espérant un jour devenir des professionnels et combattre contre les plus grands dans des stades bondés. Contre vents et marées, envers et contre tous, ces deux communautés d’hommes défient leurs destins ets’acharnent à travailler sans relâche pour une vie meilleure.

(Sur)-Vivantes – Musée de la Femme, Dakar

I am exhibiting some of my pictures for International Women’s Month at the Musée de la Femme Henriette Bathily in Dakar, Senegal, from 9 March to 6 April 2019. During my travels and reportages in the past years, I met with extraordinary women… Women and girls who have experienced the worst, who have been deeply wounded in their bodies, in their souls, in their dreams. Some have been abused during conflicts. Others were forced to get married while they were still just children. Others had to hide their identity, leave their country and travel abroad for their safety. These are just some examples of the ordeals women and girls have to face worldwide, too often. The testimonies I collected from these survivor women have been at times overwhelming. What remains with me from these essential encounters is their sense of dignity. Their incredible ability to stand up and move forward. To build and rebuild their lives. To transmit their strength. They are powerful women and girls, and are very much alive.

J’expose quelques unes de mes photos pour le mois international de la femme au Musée de la Femme Henriette Bathily à Dakar, au Sénégal, du 9 mars au 6 avril 2019.

Au cours de mes voyages et reportages ces dernières années, j’ai rencontré des femmes extraordinaires. Des femmes et des jeunes filles qui ont vécu le pire, blessées au plus profond d’elles-mêmes, dans leur chair, dans leur âmes, dans leurs rêves. Certaines ont été abusées lors de conflits. D’autres doivent se marier alors qu’elle ne sont encore que des enfants. D’autres encore ont du cacher leur identité profonde et s’exiler à l’étranger pour leur sécurité.  La liste des témoignages que j’ai recueillis de ces femmes survivantes serait longue… Ce qui reste en moi de ces rencontres essentielles, c’est leur dignité. Leur incroyable capacité à se relever et à avancer. A construire et reconstruire leur vie.  A transmettre leur force. Femmes solaires, femmes puissantes. Des sur-vivantes, bien Vivantes.

Medina Memoria – Villa des Arts and Petit Musée, Dakar

My photographic work on the Medina neighbourhood of Dakar is exhibited in two locations in the Senegalese capital these months. First at the Villa des Arts, in the Maristes area, from 8 December 2018 to 8 January 2019; the exhibit is part of the cultural event Partcours, which this year celebrates its seventh anniversary gathering 23 art galleries. In addition, my work is also visible at Petit Musée, a new gallery located in the historical and central Plateau area of Dakar, from 14 December 2018 to 31 January 2019.

A bit more on my project… With its colorful and quaint and dated architecture, its bubbling and festive streets, and its direct and generous inhabitants, the Medina district of Dakar is a clever mix of chaos and creativity whose fragile balance threatens at any moment to break. Its hectic atmosphere, its profusion of colors and noises and its unique heritage are the pride of the Medinois and catapult the visitor passing through into a raw universe and without concessions.

Officially created in September 1914 by a decree of then Governor William Ponty, the Medina of Dakar first welcomed the local populations of the Plateau – mostly Lebous – chased away by French settlers following an epidemic of plague. The first site of occupation is Tilène – the favorite place for the “tilé”, or jackals.

Medina Memoria is a photographic exploration in one of the most vibrant areas of Dakar. This project aims to explore what constitutes its fabric, its intrinsic memory, such as private homes, old buildings and historic sites of course; but also what especially contributes every day to the living memory of this incomparable and unpredictable neighborhood, namely its composite populations and their eclectic lives.

The Niger River – Loman Art Gallery, Dakar

Only a few days left to see my exhibition “In the footsteps of Harakoye: Wandering along the Niger River” at Loman Art House in Dakar (from 3 May to 7 June 2018). The exhibit is part of the OFF events for the 2018 Biennale of Contemporary Art in Dakar. In Songhay-Zarma mythology, Harakoye is the goddess of the Niger River. Her legend begins in Timbuktu, Mali. Harakoye followed the river across Mali and into Niger, eventually reaching Nigeria. Even today, this goddess of Fulani origin represents a powerful unifying myth, promoting peaceful coexistence between the communities living along the Niger River.

Plus que quelques jours pour voir mon exposition “Sur les traces d’Harakoye, errances le long du fleuve Niger” à la galerie Loman Art House à Dakar (du 3 mai au 7 juin 2018). Elle fait partie des évenements du OFF dans le cadre de la Biennale d’Art contemporain 2018 de Dakar. Dans la mythologie Songhay-Zarma, Harakoye est la déesse du fleuve Niger. Sa légende commence vers Tombouctou au Mali. Harakoye navigue le long du fleuve à travers le Mali, puis le Niger pour finalement arriver au nord du Nigéria. D’origine Peulh, elle représente, jusqu’à aujourd’hui, un mythe fédérateur puissant pour la coexistence pacifique des communautés du fleuve Niger.