The first week, I discovered the beading technique. Bead by bead, stitch by stitch, Mama Igénie showed me how to make a line, then a strip, then a pattern. When my beading day ended, I could join the horses to caress them and tell them about my day. I met Abdou, the horses’ keeper, who took me galloping on the red roads. One afternoon, I invited him to sit under a tree so that he could tell me about his relationship with horses and especially about his favorite mare, Ana. It is thanks to his story that I’ve chosen the colors, the patterns, the shape of the mask. He told me something that marked me: « Thanks to horses, I change my status, I am more important in the eyes of others. People respect me and want to learn from me. »
The second week, I visited the city of Baham where many craftswomen sell beaded objects. If Igénie, head of the beading workshop, took me there, it was to show other beading techniques. I am nourished by the colors, patterns and landscapes of a sacred place we pass through on our way home. In the evening, in my room, I scribble down my first ideas for a mask.
The next day, I showed my sketches to Danilo. I hesitated between a blue or red monochrome, patterns inspired by Ly Dumas’ book « Perles, Couleurs d’Afrique », cowrie shell and jujube inlays… I refined the choice of colors, and eliminated some too risky ideas. Finally, the mask will not cover the whole head but only the eye area. It will be blue, with brown and green bangs.
When I wasn’t working on the mask, I continued to visit the horses, to take care of them with Cedric, the veterinarian, and I took my colleagues on horseback rides to share the magic of this animal.
IN ADDITION TO THE RESIDENCY
Alice Ifergan Rey, performance artist but also storyteller, gave her time to the children of the Foundation and of the surrounding schools by preparing workshops around the tale.
She proposed a cutting and collage activity followed by the telling of different tales at the library of the Jean-Félicien Gacha Foundation. Alice also led a workshop to illustrate a tale and to introduce the collage technique to the pupils of the public school of Nyamga. The children chose to illustrate the tale telling the story of the tree protecting the Foundation. Finally, accompanied by a saxophonist and the Foundation’s horses, Alice initiated a storytelling walk on the Foundation’s site.
Between poetry, art and horsemanship, Alice was able to fascinate the students who participated in her workshops and transport them into her world.