The return of the African Biennale to Mali

~ Chade Van de Fliert with Kelly Owens

inchallahThe African Biennale of photographyinchallah is an exposition, allowing African Photo-graphers to exhibit their work on a range of subjects. This year’s theme is “Telling Time”. This biennale came back to Bamako after it was cancelled in 2013 due to the Malian crisis.


 This exposition has images that spoke words; each image had a deeper meaning than what was portrayed.

There were images that showed suffering in a population that is rich in natural resources. Mali, for example, used to be one of the richest empires in the world, and now is one of the poorest. Mali is a nation afflicted with corruption that has gone through a coup d’état and Ebola. Currently, Mali is engaged in an armed conflict with rebels whom are hoping for sovereignty. This conflict is unfortunately still occurring now. The attack on the Radisson Hotel might even be more evidence showing the severity and dissatisfaction of the rebels.


Disenfranchisement is unfortunately a popular theme in the world now, with ISIS and the ‘black lives matter campaign’ to name a few. ISIS is able to successfully recruit new members because people feel excluded. This disenfranchisement has created an environment where people claim to be fighting for Islam. However, what these people don’t realize is that once you kill, you are no longer Muslim.

My favorite series in the exhibit was Aboubacar Traorè’s “Inshallah”. Mr.Traorè took these photographs in order to portray religious fundamentalists. He is showing us that by practicing any religion in a fundamental way you are wearing blinders that affect how you see the world.

 The Biennale organizers entered into agreement with 100 schools in Mali in hopes of encouraging a greater number of visitors. It has been noted that over the weekend there are more visitors than during the week. With such powerful artists this exhibition won’t be a waste of your time. The exhibit is open until December 31st!