1- Can you introduce yourself? I am an artist painter with dual Malian, Belgian nationality. I live in Siby, located 50 km from Bamako in Mali. I obtained my literary Baccalaureat. 2- How was your artistic vocation born? I was unable to obtain a scholarship to continue my studies abroad and I was unable to enter university in Mali because of my activism in the student movement, AEEM. So, I learned the Bogolan technique to pass my spare time at first. It was my boss's clients who pushed me to make some paintings, I got a taste for it and I continued to make it my job.
3- Why did you choose to work with the bogolan?
I chose bogolan, because it allows me to be, in a way, the guardian of a part of my culture. I also like working with the natural elements. 4- Can you tell us about your technique? I use the ancient technique of Bogolan that women have perpetuated. After soaking in decoctions of plants I proceed to the drawings in a simple way in general to transmit a more or less coded message...
Traditionally, Bogolan is made on cotton and this is what I want to pursue. So I mainly work on cotton, although I have already tried on leather and wood.
I do'nt mix industrial paint with Bogolan, otherwise I like to explore other techniques.
5- How long does it take to make a painting?
Bogolan is a process that requires patience. That is why I need time for a good result which requires soaking and drying steps. It is then that we proceed to the designs on the fabric to finally go to the washing.
I can make a canvas in a week as I can take a month, or even more than a month.
6- What are your inspirations?
Before starting a work I don't really know what it will end up with, because when ideas jostle in my head I try to capture the essential that seems to push me to go to the canvas. I don't do too many sketches, but rather small drawings so as not to forget the basic idea of an inspiration.
As a source of inspiration airports and train stations always speak to me. For me it's a whole universe that I express through the foot or the feet. The foot is a crucial element for me, because it consolidates knowledge. The foot is movement, travel, exile, return...
I also get a lot of inspiration from observing everyday life, traveling and meeting people.
Check Kelen's gallery to discover more artworks.