Photographs taken by Marli Shamir in Mali, in 1971. The majority of the images show architecture in Djenne, Mali. Other images depict architecture of the Dogon in Timbuktu, Gao and San.
Photographs from this collection were featured by Labelle Prussin's thesis entitled, "The Architecture of Djenne; African Synthesis and Transformation," (Yale University, 1974) and in her book entitled, "Hatumere: Islamic Design in West Africa," (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986). The images have also been displayed in an exhibition entitled, "Marli Shamir Photographs from the Sahel," held in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, in 1976.
Images indexed by negative number.
Biographical / Historical:
Marli Shamir (1919-2016) was an Israeli photographer known for her extensive work in Mali, the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso from 1966-1973. Born and raised in Berlin, Shamir started studying photography during her teenage years and took photography classes at the Contempora Lehrateliers für neue Werkkunst (1934-1937). In 1938, she was forced to immigrate to Israel where she initially lived in a kibbutz. From 1941-1943, she worked at the mineralogy department of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, and then opened her own studio in Jerusalem in 1945. In 1953, she married Meir Shamir, a former Israeli Diplomat-Ambassador, and from 1966-1973 she lived successively in Mali, Gabon and Cote d'Ivoire. She held a particular fascination with architecture, monuments, mosques, arts and habitants. During her stay in Mali, she met Pascal James Imperato with whom she wrote the article Bokolanfini Mud Cloth of the Bamana of Mali, (African Arts, 1970). In 1976, she produced the exhibition Sahel at the Israeli museum in Jerusalem, which focused on the rural and urban architecture and people of the Sahel. The exhibition toured in Europe later that year. From 1977-1981, she lived in Strasbourg, where she focused on documenting the new style of architecture in Mali. Her work on this project is stored at the Center of Documentation in Strasbourg. In 2005, a book devoted to her photographs from Mali was published by the Grandvaux French Edition House. The National Poet of Mali, Albakaye Ousmane Kounta, collaborated with Shamir on the book of poetry Djenney-Ferey –La terre habitee (published by Grandaux, 2007), which is illustrated with Shamir's photographs. Shamir passed away in 2016 at the age of 93.
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