Why so quiet on the Djenne front ?
Nothing sinister, just very busy! Amongst other things, I have been escorting a Swedish journalist around for a few days. He is making an article about moi and my life here in Djenne for a Swedish Sunday supplement.
Ah, fame at last!
The Harmattan is sweeping around the hotel with chilly winds from the north, depositing desert sand on every available surface. We have a few guests at the hotel, but it is too cold to eat in the garden at night, so we wrap up and have dinner under the hangar for these few remaining chilly days. I enjoy this period: it will soon pass and the temperature will soar into the thirties again in February.
Tomorrow the calligrapher Boubakar Sadek will arrive from Timbuktu to begin a week’s seminar/conference at the Djenne Manuscript Library. This event will lead into this year’s Calligraphy Competition, which will take place during the week of Maoloud (the birth and circumcision of the Prophet) in the first week of February.
It is not so much that we think that Djenné needs to learn calligraphy from Timbuktu- Djenné has been practicing this art for at least as many centuries as her famous desert 'twin sister'. But the quality of the work is not as good as it was a hundred years ago. Timbuktu has of course had a lot of international interest and sponsorship for many aspects of their manuscripts, including the calligraphy, and Sadek has been able to make the most of these opportunities, making calligraphy his carreer. We are hoping he will be able to inspire some of this spirit of enterprise here.
The picture above shows some of last year's entries from the Djenné Calligraphy competition. Hotel Djenne Djenno is sponsoring this event again for it's second year.
Pictures to follow soon!