Mud Mosques of Mali

As a photography student, traveling by bicycle for several months in 1996 and 1997 through the inlands of Mali, the beauty of small adobe mosques in remote villages astonished me as they revealed themselves as the living tissue of an age-old architecture. Back in Europe, I found that this vernacular architecture is largely un-documented. Although the highlights of this 'Sudanese' style are cherished by cultural actors such as UNESCO as well as by international book editors and documentary makers, no one seems to bother about unnamed village mosques. Not even tourists, who simply step over them en route to 'discovering' Djenne and Timbuktu. So I decided to make an extensive photographic survey of the mosques of the Niger Inner Delta. With 515 mosques photographed, this collection shows a representative image of the adobe mosques of the Niger Inner Delta. Advancing modernity, and a lack of appreciation for this 'archaic' approach to building, are serious threats to the continuity of this living architecture.


Sebastian Schutyser, photographer

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