Being granted the scholarship from Botanical Colors I had the wonderful opportunity to study for master Aboubakar Fofana and digitally meet creators all over the globe which I might never have crossed paths with otherwise. Having my roots in Mali growing up and studying fashion in Sweden I never quite found anyone in my surroundings who looked like me, inspired me, made art that talked to me or held the knowledge of the African textiles and traditions. It was important for me to learn the history of the Malian textiles and to understand how they were made. I would have never thought I would be able to have this experience without going to Mali, but the beautiful collaboration between Botanical Colors and Aboubakar Fofana made that happen.
Under Aboubakars wing we learnt the traditional Malian art form of mineral mud dye (Bògòlandini). Being able to hands on working with the Malian hand spun organic cotton and mud collected from the Niger River was such a pure moment and a dream coming through.
Even though the class was digital I was blown away by the absolute presence of Aboubakar. He was so generous with his knowledge explaining and showing each step of the process in detail. He also shared his personal beliefs and told the historical and cultural aspects of these textiles. This created a warm atmosphere and connection between all of us students which I believe we all needed during the covid-19 lock down.
This will be a milestone for me in my own creativity and road to develop my own expression. Aboubakar made the natural dyeing process which I already love so much meaningful and confirmed to me why I need to continue to do art. Botanical Colors who has always been a great source of knowledge for me now also became the bridge to Aboubakar and the connection to Mali. For that I will always be thankful and it would have not happened without the support from this scholarship. From the bottom of my heart thank you!
Receiving the scholarship gave me the opportunity to study Indigo dyeing with artists in an environment where I felt supported by everyone present in the class. For me, the Indigo workshop with Aboubakar Fofana connected the practice of indigo dyeing to family, culture, identity, art and environmental sustainability. It helped to highlight the importance of preserving cultural practices and in doing so, our connection to the natural world. The scholarship aims to give equal access to artists most affected by these challenging times by helping them receive the tools they need to get started. I am so thankful to everyone at Botanical Colors for inspiring and motivating me to continue with my own practice and encouraging me to practice with intention, patience and appreciation.