After a beautiful first evening in the Bla Bla bar we started this morning with a visit to the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers Multimedia. This conservatoire (music academy) is situated in a complete new complex just outside Bamako. Although after 6 years the building needs some renovation. We met Abdoulaye Konate, the director of the institute and a painter with a huge reputation (participated Documenta 12 and Africa Remix exhibition). He told the group he is really interested in expanding international contacts to exchange ideas, and information and exchange on how to seek funding. During our site tour it became clear that equipment is not the problem. They have a lot of good working computers and great piano’s, guitars and a studio space. We were delighted to attend a concert of the students. It was a little bit surrealistic as we were confronted with the mainstream classic composers and later on a concert of the proffesors from Cuba with a strange mixture of classic-rumba-with an European opera-like concert. It felt a little bit akward in the middle of steamy Africa. Nevertheless Abdoulayae assured us that there is also a lot of attention for traditional music as well. Later that day, in the evening, we heard our first African cora music.
Our visit to the National Museum of Mali with Samuel Sidibe was very pleasant. Situated in the National Parc in a beautiful surrounding he showed us a presentation of works on loan from the museum Branly from Paris.
Today this museum has a collection of 6000 pieces made up essentially of objects of ethnographic and archeological interest and a new focus on contemporary arts. www.mnm-mali-org
A visit to the ateliers of Aida Duplessis made it absolutelly clear that a mixture of old traditional weaving can create experimental contemporary objects. Works can be seen at Maison et Objet in Paris. As we heard also later that day she’s is very proud of the products made in Mali despite the pressure of Chinese copy cats.
Cheick Diallo showed in his house some newly designed objects. As the founder of the association of African designers he is an influential man. www.diallo-desing.com
Back in the hotel we met Aminata Traore and her daughter. A fascinating talk about hope, courage and pride. As a former minister of culture and with an international network she returned to Mali to build up confidence for the next generation. Her daughter studied abroad but came back to do the same. With working projects and especially a festival for cotton. The dinner was great due to a number of interesting guests invited.