The Utah Arts Council today announced it has selected Faces of Mali, an exhibit of photographs of village life in western Africa, for its 2010 traveling art program. The show, sponsored by Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) and Mali Rising—two Utah-based non-profit organizations—and the Embassy of Mali, opens a window for viewers into a region with a 600-year history as a center for scholarship and trade. The first traveling exhibit is scheduled for Canyon Community Center in Springdale beginning Feb. 4.
“The people of rural Mali have a culture that is rich in tradition and history and it is delightful that people all over Utah will be able to enjoy this photo essay”
The exhibit’s images of Mali villagers were captured by Edgar Gomez-Palmieri and Yeah Samake during recent working visits. Gomez-Palmieri is director of international outreach and fieldwork for SMGF. Samake is Malian honorary consul in Utah; mayor of Ouelessebougou (way-lay-suh-boo-goo), a city in southwest Mali; and president of Mali Rising Foundation, a Sandy-based organization that built five village-owned and operated schools.
“The people of rural Mali have a culture that is rich in tradition and history and it is delightful that people all over Utah will be able to enjoy this photo essay,” said Samake. “Many Utahns already have a positive connection with Malians by helping us explore and record our ancestry, build schools and better educate our children.” For five years SMGF has been collecting DNA and family history information from Malians in the process of creating the world’s largest repository of correlated genetic genealogical information. Sandy-based Mali Rising Foundation helps Mali villages develop clean water sources, improve sanitation and build schools.
Today’s Republic of Mali includes the legendary Saharan desert city of Timbuktu, a name once used as shorthand for remoteness from Western civilization, which was a crossroads for ancient commercial routes and is believed to have established one of the world’s first universities in the 14th century. Mali has a population of 13 million today and is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 174 of 175 in measures of wealth.
The Faces of Mali exhibit was first displayed in October 2009 at the Salt Lake City-County Building and was opened by Mali Minister of Secondary Education and Research Ginette Bellegarde, Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City and Samake. The Utah Arts Council traveling exhibits are a statewide outreach program that provides schools, museums, libraries, and community galleries with the opportunity to bring curated exhibitions to their community.
SOURCE Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation