Témoin Africa

Mr. President

Mali President Amadou Toumani Touré holds some illustrious company on the walls of Photo Vesta Printers. According to the all knowing Wikipedia: ‘Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal’s withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state’.

President Amadou Toumani Touré


Co-Curator Sammy Baloji

The Gallery

The Medina Gallery in the Medina district of Bamako will be hosting part of the TÉMOIN exhibition.

Under supervision of owner Igo they are finishing up the final touches three days before opening. That’s how we roll.



Alpha Macky O’ Kane – Concept’or

Printing images onto vinyl that will be installed in public spaces all over the city of Bamako.

At Alpha Macky o Kane's printing the vinyl of Monique Pelser's 'It Changes Phase'

Right Hand Men

Our invaluable guides, translators and taxi drivers (scooter drivers)

Aly Naily

Mohammed (the nephew of Aly)




Photo Vesta printers in BAMAKO – coura Ru Dakar – porte No 154 Tel: +22366871132/ +22376126627

That’s me, Monique, the not-so-calm-lass anticipating Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Photo Vesta Printing

Augustin the-calm-guy is our printer at Photo Vesta

The Printers

our printers for the exhibition

10am Monday morning we arrived at Photo Vesta to meet our printers.  It was madness.  The place was teaming with photographers who were there to print out pictures from the weekend, from weddings, parties, id pictures, invitations and good times had.  We had to squeeze through to the back room which is full to the brim with computers and printers and people to meet Augustin, Amadou and Soungala.  Three extremely even tempered men dealing with hundreds of requests and questions thrown at them.  I respect their ability to keep calm in that bazaar of printing.  Three of us (Aly to translate, one photographer – who’s work we were testing – and myself) were squeezed into the mix and the printing process began.

We worked on test prints, colour corrections and sizes and after a 10 hour day we have done all of our tests and are on our way to getting the work printed for the opening on Friday.  Only now that the process is in motion I can see how incredibly closely cut this deadline is.  Nothing like a little deadline pressure under new circumstances.

Press Release

Currents by Michael Tsegaye

During the Bamako Photo Biennale, the Goethe-Institut realises the first

photographic exhibition by participants of the Photographers’ Portfolio

Meeting. Photographers included are Sammy Baloji (DRC), Calvin Dondo

(Zimbabwe), Sabelo Mlangeni (South Africa), Abraham Oghobase

(Nigeria), Monique Pelser (South Africa), Michael Tsegaye (Ethiopia).



Over the past three years the exhibiting photographers have been

involved in the Goethe-Institut project ‘Photographers’ Portfolio Meeting’.

The project, initiated by the Goethe-Institut South Africa and Simon Njami,

was held in Maputo 2008, Bamako 2009 and Addis Ababa 2010. The

programme, which runs during Rencontres de Bamako, is made up of

portfolio readings, master classes and peer review sessions.

For the portfolio reviews photographers met on a one on one basis with

curators such as Bisi Silva from CCA Lagos, Mark Sealy from Autograph,

Chris Dercon from Tate Modern, Felix Hoffmann from CO Berlin, Collette

Olaf from Foam, Kwezi Gule then from Johannesburg Art Gallery, John

Fleetwood from Market Photo Workshop and other independent curators

such as Simon Njami and Akinbode Akinbiyi.


In November 2011, as a fringe exhibition at the Bamako Biennale, Monique

Pelser and Sammy Baloji are co-curating a selection of the works made

over the past three years by themselves and other past participants such

as  Calvin Dondo (Zimbabwe), Sabelo Mlangeni (South

Africa), Abraham Oghobase (Nigeria) and Michael Tsegaye (Ethiopia).


Témoin/Witness will be focusing on the African metropolis or ‘megacity’.

This show includes work that reflects on immediate circumstances of this

group of emerging photographers. The images deal with a wide range of

important social issues that consider an inherited culture and history, as

the photographers bear witness to the constant flux and changing cultures

that define the ‘megacity’.


Témoin/Witness opens on 4 November at 7pm at Medina Gallery and

runs until 30 November.


Medina Gallery

Boulevard du peuple (opposite of l’ECICA)

Tel: 00 223 66 88 91 81


Monique Pelser: mpelser@gmail.com

Sammy Baloji: djamal29@yahoo.fr