Ananias Léki Dago, Cross shaped Bamako, from PRIVATE 36 – AFRIKA
[A]frica is a continent that keeps constantly changing. All African big cities are becoming urbanized each in a different manner. For instance, Bamako and Abidjan are very similar cities, even though their urban development shows many differences.
When I first visited Bamako, I fell under the spell of this changing city, a place full of contradictions. Each visit is a new occasion to discover its inexhaustible wealth. As in François Soulage’s definition, the photographer leaves behind the traces of his photographic meeting with the phenomenon. I see myself as a nomadic photographer with a very personal vision. I prefer going beyond the real and let various understandings and questionings arise. The very close relation between the “I” and the urban game allows me to experiment new places and territories. In this manner my meeting with Bamako happened through one of the most common objects of the city. It is the “pousse-pousse”, a kind of wheelbarrow flooding the streets and used to carry all kinds of goods. The cross-shaped handle gets enigmatic as the “pousse-pousse” lays vertically and the cross breaks the horizon: you can see everywhere these crosses stand out in the raw white sky, or the shadow of one of them left in the rubbish, or an exhausted body leaning on the handle.
Visual curiosities, theses crosses question the assimilation of exogenous symbols in Mali, as they became valuable as time went by. I started my reportage from that point. My questioning comes from my photographic approach as well as from the contextual analysis of the subject. The cross does not belong to the Malian culture: there is an immanent visual poetry that comes from that contradiction and legitimizes it.