Spirit of Africa
・Exhibition Date : Apr. 24, 2007 ~ Sep. 26, 2007
・Exhibition Location : Clayarch Gimhae Museum
Earth Architecture and Decorative Arts of Africa
Numerous great architectures in Africa are made of inexpensive and easily available materials. For centuries, Saharans of West Africa including Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso have built their residences and mosques, the center of their religious life, using the very primitive and raw but reusable material, clay. Experienced local masons with special skills were the ones to make these earthen architectures possible even without the modern
architectural techniques. They used (adobe) sun-dried bricks for the foundation and plastered over with mud mixed with rice husks embedding wooden stakes called 'toron' into the walls which function as scaffolding for the annual repairs. The Great Mosque of Djenne designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 is the world's largest (50m x 20m) adobe building and the entire community of Djenne of over 4,000 people takes an active role in this magnificent mosque's maintenance, called crepissage via a unique annual festival. First built in the 13th century on the Islamic Holy Land of West Africa, it remains the most prominent symbol of ecologically sustainable architectural achievement.
African adobe mosques in terms of shape and materials used are simple, yet very exquisite and sophisticated in style and design. Spiral staircase, arched openings, arcade and projecting wooden pegs under the blazing sunlight of Africa give off solemn and elegant beauty of structure. Clayarch Gimhae Museum presents photography exhibition < Adobe Mosques of the Inner Niger Delta by Sebastian Schutyser > of the Belgium artist, Sebastian Schutyser documenting adobe mosques found while traveling around Timbuktu along the Niger river that runs from Guinea to Nigeria. His own unique childhood experience in Congo adds special touch on what are already esthetic and functional masterpieces. The actual mosque building performance < Adobe Mosques > by Boubakar Kourmansse, the master mason of Mali with his 5 other assisting masons, at the main hall of the museum open to public to see its building process provides an insight into the importance and potentiality of earthen structures in a more nature and environment - oriented becoming society.
introduces various types of decorative arts from Southern Africa to help understand the African art and culture. These African artifacts and ornaments purchased by collectors and tourists of the region have a major role in helping people to understand much of Africa's historic material culture. Even those who are ignorant of the deeper meaning these cultural objects carry could see and feel how the remarkable colors, expressions and limitless designs shown in their homes, costumes and ornaments have influenced the modern art of today with traditional and contemporary artistic sense. African artifacts from ritualistic or daily utensils to traditional houses and buildings are generally considered as extraordinary art pieces. This exhibit consisted of rare and precious collections of collectors both from Korea and abroad seeks to contribute to a better understanding of Southern African art and culture.
The 2007 Exhibition of Clayarch Gimhae Museum entitled < Spirit of Africa > featuring earthen architectures of West Africa and decorative arts of Southern Africa offers unique opportunity to capture the traditional yet most modern style culture of mysterious and far away land, Africa.
01/ Adobe Mosques of the Inner Niger Delta by Sebastian Schutyser
・Exhibition Date : 2007. 4. 24 ~ 9. 26
・Exhibition Location : Gallery 2, Clayarch Gimhae Museum
・Artist : Sebastian Scutyser, Belgium
* website : http://www.sebastianschutyser.com
Aesthetics of Adobe Mosques
Clayarch Gimhae Museum presents the first half of the 2007 thematic exhibition entitled, 'Adobe House'. As the museum specializes in architectural ceramics, this is the third installment of its planned thematic exhibitions followed by the first half of 2006's exhibition, 'International Architectural Ceramics' and 'Dreaming Toilet,' in the second half of the year.
A solo exhibition of invited young Belgian photographer Sebastian Schutyser introduces thirty black and white photographs recording religious buildings, adobe mosques, located on the inner Niger River delta, Mali in West Africa.
Through seven years of experience in the Congo (formerly Zaire) during his childhood, Schutyser has maintained peculiar affection and interest in various aspects of Africa including his own unique sentiment and constructing aesthetics towards Africa, African nature, people, isolated regions and things that are lost. Looking at small mosques in Mali's country towns while he was a photography student and traveling for his academic degree, he found himself interested in the typical construction style and culture of the region.His work began in 1998 and pictures mosques constructed with adobe techniques in old towns when Schutyser took his first trip along Niger River. From that point, 'Mosque' became the major theme of his black and white photographic work.
Many adobe mosques appear along the Niger River running through Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Guinea. From a large mosque like the Grand Mosque to small town mosques, various scales and forms of adobe mosques stand out. In Mali, the river runs between Djenné in the southwest and Timbuktu in the northeast and it is the third longest river in Africa after the Nile and Congo rivers. The Niger delta region occupies a very important position in West African history.The area took a decisive part in formative development of West African kingdoms in the days when trading was active, with the blessed natural environment given to the delta and its important location as the intersection of the Sahara trade.
The West African adobe mosque is the simplest in shape and building material, but some words describing the construction style include excellent figures, beauty, diversity, exquisite skills and creative beauty of shape. Passing through centuries, adobe mosques are constructed and added to by the hands of the regional people for generations, and continue to the present as the living culture, religion and history for the area. The mosques are made of earthen bricks formed by hand and dried naturally. Accordingly, adobe mosques deliver an impressive feeling because of their sculptural properties and smooth external shape Adobe mosques are built based on long experience and technology without specific architectural plans or intention, achieving simple construction structures and formative beauty. What is more, some mosques give the impression of a massive sculpture. Plain stairs, arches shaped into curves, round ceilings and wooden structures sticking out of a building reveal a spectacular beauty of architecture harmonizing with the strong sunlight of Africa. To improve waterproofing against severe rainfall, rice straw and cattle dung are always added in the primary mortar for outer walls of mosques and the mixture is attached to walls by hand. Therefore, fingerprints on the adobe walls show natural textures and sensitive effects on the surface. Earthen buildings for God, adobe mosques are made of clay called banco smoothed with hands in certainshapes and naturally dried. They provide formative and decorative perspectives that become a piece of art, not just a common building.
The West African adobe buildings are constructed cultural assets that people should preserve against all harm. The buildings are admired by both people who have an opportunity to experience the cultural value in perfect condition and the creative ones who established the construction. The photographic work of Sebastian Schutyser is visual memory and also the result of civilized reporting activities that urge people's concern and support to protect the great cultural achievement of the alienated regions for the future. Hereafter, the existence of irreplaceable cultural assets created by human beings is likely to be seen only in Schutyser's pictures. His photographic work means more than just impressions of adobe buildings. The goal is a photographic campaign to arouse interest in and affection for world cultural properties along with a feeling of responsibility for maintaining them.
▶ Sebastian Scutyser
Sebastian Schutyser was born in Bruges, in 1968. At the age of two, he arrived in the Congo, where he was to spend his childhood. He returned to Belgium at the age of twelve, carrying with him an African experience which would mark him profoundly, and direct his later career in life. After finishing high school, he studied at Ghent University, where he qualified as licentiate political sciences in 1991. Unsatisfied with the perspective of a desk job, he started studying photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, also in Ghent.
During his studies he undertook his first photographic mission in Africa: an epic voyage by bicycle through the inland of Mali. During this trip he carried a large format camera and tripod, and made portraits of people on his journey, as if he were an ambulant photographer of the old days. For this work he was given a grant by the Belgian Vocation Foundation, under the high patronage of Her Majesty Queen Fabiola. He was also nominated for the 12th Open National Photography Prize, and participated in the exhibition of this national photography contest at the Photography Museum of Charleroi. He obtained his Master degree in photography in 1997.
A year later he started working on an ambitious photographic survey of the adobe mosques of the Niger Inner Delta, in Mali. Due to his limited resources he undertook this mission in one of the most inaccessible areas of WestAfrica in a small prawn, carrying with him his bicycle, photographic equipment and the very basic means of survival. Gathering images from more than 100 old village mosques, this work in progress was nominated again for the 13th Open National Photography Prize, and won the Prix des amis de l'UNESCO. An exhibition at the Royal Africa Museum in Belgium received great public acclaim.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Schutyser worked on various other projects, such as a photographic portrait of the Belgian police forces, published by the Antwerp Photography Museum. He also contributed to other editorial projects as a freelance photographer, such as prestigious books on his birth town, Bruges, and the Spanish city of Caceres, both classified as heritage of mankind sites. The latter work was exhibited at the European Parliament in Brussels.
In 2001-2002, he deepened his work on the adobe mosques of Mali, with a grant from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Subsequently, his work was exhibited at the Noorderlicht Photography Festival (The Netherlands), the Maison Europenne de la Photographie (Paris), the Deutsches Architektur Museum (Frankfurt), and at the Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine de Bamako (Mali). Sebastian Schutyser himself considered the exhibition before the Grand Mosque of Djenné, in Mali, as his most significant one. This mosque - a UNESCO heritage of mankind site - lies in the heartland of this architectural style, and is the largest adobe construction on earth.
In 2004, Sebastian Schutyser was awarded with the special 25,000 euro prize of the Belgian Vocation Foundation for his work in Africa. This was followed by an exhibition at the Palais des Beaux Arts, the most important center for fine arts in Brussels.
In the same year, he undertook his first steps in a new comprehensive coverage of vernacular religious architecture: the Romanic and Pre-romanic hermitages of Northern Spain. The predominant emotion evoked by the rural hermitages of Northern Spain is 'soledad', a Spanish word that keeps the middle between loneliness and desolation. This feeling is deepened by limiting the work to the winter months, when the light has a special quality. The use of an unorthodox method, the camera obscura or pinhole camera, creates a particular visual language. Colours and shapes get a different taste. The soft contrast is typical for this elementary form of camera, which is no more than a wooden box with a tiny hole in it. Indeed, Sebastian Schutyser uses a poor man's camera for poor men's churches.This work is still in progress, and is partially He also undertook various expeditions to the Rwenzori, better known as the legendary 'Mountains of the Moon', on the border of present Uganda and the Congo. The Rwenzori Mountains, which feed the waters of the Nile, are well known for their extravagant giant plants. This earned them the name botanical big game. Sebastian Schutyser is focusing on the aesthetic qualities of one of the few remaining areas on earth unaffected by human presence. The use of infrared photography causes an unusual, pictorial result, which enhances the pristine beauty of these landscapes.
However estranging an effect this may have, this is not an imaginary world. That is remarkable in times where the real environment is progressively being destroyed, and where virtual reality takes over.
Since 2005 he is working as a freelance photographer for the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia. His images of classical and traditional musicians of Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan figure on the major musical anthology of Central Asian music by the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia, a co-production with the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. In March 2006, he participated to the Opening Conference of Clayarch Gimhae Museum with a lecture on the adobe mosques of Mali.
▶ PHOTO REVIEW
▲ Koroboro, ⓝ14˚05′ ⓦ4˚29′, 95x120cm
▲ Wango, ⓝ15˚44′ ⓦ3˚38′, 95x120cm
▲ Lanaoué, ⓝ14˚06′ ⓦ4˚29′, 95x120cm
▲ Oumere, ⓝ15˚07′ ⓦ3˚53′, 95x120cm
▲ Sirifila, ⓝ15˚52′ ⓦ3˚50′, 95x120cm
Special Exhibition Ⅰ
02/ Adobe Mosque
・Exhibition Date : 2007. 4. 24 ~ 9. 26
・Performance Dates : 2007. 4. 2 ~ 5. 11
・Exhibition Location : Main Hall(1F), Clayarch Gimhae Museum
・Artist : Boubacar Kourmanssé, Mali
・Mason : Moussa Konate, Bakary Kossinantao, Boubacar Tangara, Lassina Kourmassé, Salif Droufo
・Advisor : Architect, Dr. Pierre maas
・Data Source : Leiden National Museum of Ethnology, Leden, The Netherlands
Adobe House, the most natural and economical architecture
Adobe House, the most natural and economical architecture In man's history, the earth itself was not actively used as construction material on other continents for a long period, whereas in Africa it was. To the people of Africa, the soil has a very sacred existence and they see the material as a central part of creating their lives. Especially, earthen buildings in West Africa are world famous and for some centuries this region was developed by building houses for people, and Islamic mosques for religious life, by using earth.
Timbuktu is located in the central region of Mali, the largest country in West Africa. The area attained economic prosperity in the past as the base of Sahara cross-trading which connected the Mediterranean and Sudan. What is more, Timbuktu holds historical meaning as the beginning point of making the African adobe style. The first adobe mosque, DJingere-ber, was constructed by architect Abu Ishap Es-Saheli Altouwaidjin from Granada, Spain under orders of the king of Mali, Mansa Musa, in 1325, who asked him to build his palace. The architectural style spread throughout Africa and it became the matrix of unique architectural styles in the region.
Along the Niger River, a large number of mosques built with earth can be seen in the center of towns. Among these mosques, being proud of such a scale, Djenne Grand Mosque is the world's largest adobe mosque (50 meters in breadth by 26 meters long) constructed with only mud and wood. The size of the mosque symbolizes the power and fortune of the city. Trading actively with North Africa in the past, Djenne accepted Islam in the early days and the city could build
the enormous mosque based on the fortune accumulated through barter trading. These adobe buildings built with bricks were created by the region's skillful masons without architectural plans. A mason starts as an apprentice and accumulates experience and techniques for a long time to become a master mason. They start with learning the uses of tools and construction materials, improve the techniques of stacking bricks and construction technology, maintain and repair adobe buildings, as well as take part in handing down the techniques to the next generation.
Generally, a mosque is constructed on a site where a building is laid waste or land is not in use anymore. However, the major mosqueslike Djenne Grand Mosque are built in the middle of town where they become a seat of regional social activities, a center for neighboring houses and a square for weekly markets. On the other hand, most small mosques are located around the edge of town, built up byeach tribe with their own purpose. Houses and mosques go through maintenance once in one to three years after the rainy season. Accordingly, townsmen dig up mud called banco from a drain in the dry season. It is put into a wooden frame after mixing it with compost or chaff and dried under the sun until the mixture turns to earthen bricks. With these bricks, the foundation of houses and mosques can be established, and pillars put up and covered with wet soil to create an adobe house. All the residents participate in mosque construction or repair work. Beginning with getting the direction towards Mecca, people put effort into the work including making bricks, carrying clay and water, offering food for workers and others, except the professional work like actually stacking the bricks.
Clayarch Gimhae Museum invites adobe expert Boubacar Kourmansse and his team (five masons) from Djenne, Mali and works on an adobe mosque that is seven meters in length and width and four meters high inside the art hall. This exhibition, entitled Adobe Mosque, by Boubacar Kourmansse and his team introduces their own traditional construction technology for adobe mosques, using easy to access material, soil for generations and shows their pure respect towards God. Currently, adobe buildings in Djenne, Mali of West Africa gradually lose existence due to fragilities of material, poor maintenance and financial difficulties. With such circumstances, Clayarch Gimhae Museum planned the exhibition to enhance people's interest in the world cultural asset created by mankind for some centuries, to open eyes to the importance of natural resources and environment, and to observe future aspects of earth.
▶ Boubacar Kourmanssé
Boubacar Kourmansse was born in Djenné, Mali in 1961. He is a son of a master mason, one of a long line of masons of the Bozo tribe. He learns to speak and write French and Arabic from primary and Koran school. He is a traditional master mason of adobe architecture in Djenné, Mali.
In 1970, he started to apprentice traditional adobe technique and he became an apprentice mason under his uncle, a master mason, in 1975. From 1975 to 1980, He traveled throughout Mali to Burkina Faso with his uncle to build village mosques in the Djennéstyle. In 1982, he became a full mason and started the restoration of the Kombaga mosque in Sofara. He also constructed various adobe mosques in Tieme, Woura and Tie (Burkina Faso) in 1983.
From 1985 to 1987 he started to work with a Dutch anthropologist Geert Mommersteef (author of "City of the Marabouts") and also worked as an assistant to the Dutch research team on traditional adobe architecture in Djenné. When his father died in 1988, he became one of the very few master masons of Djennéat a relatively young age. He also had been invited to Holland by the Eindhoven University where he thought a course in traditional adobe masonry for three months. In 1990, he worked as an assistant of architect Pierre Maas during the realization of his booDjenné, Un Chef d'Oeuvre Architectural". This book is one of the most important up-to-date publication on the adobe architecture of Djenné.
From 1996 to 2003, when the major reconstruction program of Djenné under the supervision of the UNESCO started, Boubacar Kourmansse became a chief mason and a technical supervisor of the entire program. From 2000 to 2002, he constructed a large private mansion in classical style for Ton van der Lee who is a Dutch author and a film producer. And also he built a mansion for a French Prof. Joseph Brunet-Jailly, in central Djenné. Both are new adobe construction built to strict traditional rules.In 2003, he constructed a replica of the Djennétraditional archway at the Smithsonian Folk-life Festival in Washington D.C.
He has been featured as the main character of the documentary film, 'Heavenly Mud', by Ton van der Lee about adobe architecture in Mali. He also participated in the workshop & exhibition of traditional adobe architecture during the African Film Festival on traditional adobe architecture in Angers, France.
In 2004, he founded his own construction company and started to build the classical adobe buildings throughout Mali. In 2005, he constructed a residence for Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Minister of Culture of Mali and won the second prize for adobe architecture at the Biennale Artistique et Culturelle, Mali. In 2006, He constructed the adobe Hotel of Sevare, Mali and joined the restoration project of traditional architecture in Djenné.
· April 23, 2007
· April 25, 2007
· April 26, 2007
· April 27, 2007
· May 1, 2007
· May 2, 2007
· May 3, 2007
· May 4, 2007
· May 7, 2007
· May 8, 2007
· May 9, 2007
· May 10, 2007
· May 11, 2007
· May 13, 2007
· May 14, 2007
· May 16, 2007
· May 17, 2007
· May 18, 2007
· May 21, 2007
· May 23, 2007
· May 25, 2007
▶ Djennné Grand Mosque
The Djenne Grand Mosque is located in Djenne, Republic of Mali, which is one of the largest countries within West Africa. The grand mosque is an Islamic building and is as well as known to be the biggest adobe mosque built up with mud from the earth.
Djenne is one of the oldest cities in the south Sahara desert and is located on the inner delta of the Banni river valley, which is a tributary of the River Niger placed approximately 400 kilometers southwest from the Mali's capital, Bamako. The current population reaches about 12,000. During the active trade era of the Sahara's cross exchange, Islam was introduced to Djenne having brisk trading business with North Africa which gave a regional title of the key point district for bartering goods. Up until now, the city takes the place as the center of Islam. By around the latter half of the 12th century, Islam was spread to the south Sahara region generated from the Middle East by trading merchants. The Djenne Grand Mosque was first to be established around the 13th century. According to historical records, when the 26th king of Djenne, Koy Konbore converted his religion to Islam in 1280, the king ordered a grand mosque to be built on his old palace site. Since then, successors of Konbore continuously made extensions including minarets, walls covering the mosque and others. However, those extensions were already destroyed by the time French soldiers invaded Djenne in 1893. Religious leader Cheikou Ahmadou who took over Djenne in 1819 built the second mosque in the east that sized smaller than the first one and the mosque was actually used for the first time on September 27, 1834. The currently existing grand mosque was made by copying the very first mosque as it was on the spot where the original mosque was located. The construction work was conducted starting from 1906 to 1907.
Largely scaled Djenne Grand Mosque formed by stacking earthen bricks receives high recognition for its constructional magnificence, rarity and massive structure. The roof of the building is made of palm trees that is supported by ninety heavy earthen pillars. The size of the oratory covered with palm tree roof is 50 meters in length and width and 26 meters tall. On the roof, there is a ventilating opening and an earthen cover for opening and closing the vents. A bundle of palm trees called "toron" is stuck on the outer wall of the grand mosque coarsely nailed at intervals of 0.6 meters wide and 1.5 meters deep. This toron is used as a footing to add more soil on the earthen walls during the repairing period every year. This procedure is a unique architectural style that can only be seen in Sahel region, West Africa. When the rainy season passes through every year in Djenne, the mud covering job, named crepissge for the outer and inner walls of the mosque, is proceeded since the walls are usually washed away by rain. The People of Djenne, who believe in Islam, participate in this restoration work and consider as thetown's traditional cultural festival.Being the worldwide well-known city of earth Djenne, the entire city was added to the World Cultural Heritage List in UNESCO's Memory of the World in 1988. .
Special Exhibition Ⅱ
03/ Southern Africa by Design
・Exhibition Date : 2007. 4. 24 ~ 9. 26
・Exhibition Location : Gallery 1, Clayarch Gimhae Museum
・Artist : David Lewin, U.K
In recent years there has been a lot of international interest in the indigenous art of Southern Africa and I felt that to show work from this area alongside the parallel exhibitions of Sebastian Schutyser’s photographs and the performance workshop building the adobe building would give the Korean viewer some sense of the diversityof styles / art forms that have come out of Africa as a whole and perhaps break some preconceptions andmisconceptions about the nature of African art. So, within the concept
“Spirit of Africa”, Clayarch presents artefacts and ornaments of the black peoples of Southern Africa, showing examples of both traditional and contemporary material culture of the people and concentrating on line and pattern while hoping to inspire the viewer and stimulate the creative mind. The show is not conceived of as a universal overview but rather as an introduction that might serve to give an insight into the aesthetics of this part of Africa.
As non-Africans and even ignorant of the deeper meaning that cultural objects often hold, the viewer can still appreciate the beauty expressed in the beadwork, basketry, woodcarving and pottery that makes up much of Africa’s material culture.
The items that make up a peoples material culture are often markers of cultural identity: the design and decoration used to embellish an item deliberately defines the maker/user as part of a distinct cultural group and often his or her social position within that group. This statement may be extended to include traditional architecture as well as ritual and useful objects since the structures that a people build are as much a cultural reflection as the objects they surround themselves with. To the people that make and use these things it is part of everyday life but viewed out of context (either temporal or geographical) even everyday items may be viewed as art objects. A useful illustration of this is the way in which some historic Korean ceramics, which may have been made to serve a relatively humble purpose, have come to be treasured by later generations all over the world.I hope that this show will provide a stimulus for enquiring minds and that viewers will follow up their interest and seek out the spirit of Africa for themselves.
▶ David Lewin
David Lewin is an antiques dealer in London. He attended schools in South Africa and England and after two years military service graduated from Cape Town University with an Arts Degree in English Literature and Cultural History of Western Europe.
He took a position with an eminent antiques dealer in Cape Town where he worked for just under two years. David Lewin left his employ to travel to England in 1987 where he began working for himself in the field of general antiques operating from London and Bath. After several years in the business he consolidated his personal interests and business to specialize in artefacts from the folk traditions of Europe and America alongside historical artefacts from Australia, Polynesia and Africa.
He is involved in various commissions, working with fellow dealers and collectors to develop collections with particular attention paid to items from Southern Africa. He has exhibited at major art fairs in London and Berlin and loaned items to be shown in Brussels, Rotterdam, Paris and New York.
He has served on the vetting committee of the London Olympia Antique Fair over several years, covering the section on ethnology and Tribal Art and this year has been invited join the vetting committee of London’s Grosvenor House Antique fair in a similar capacity.
▶ PHOTO REVIEW
▲ a wooden pillow / wire work / pipe
▲c. 19th snuff containers / wire work / a wooden pillow
▲ pot / stick & shield / wire work
▲ aprons / sticks / beeds