Terre et Feuilles / Earth and Leaves by Aboubakar Fofana
Aboubakar Fofana belongs to a generation of artists who, over the past few years, have been rethinking traditional dyeing techniques in a collaborative manner, while adding an environmental focus and an artisanal approach to artistic production. It is fitting that the musée YVES SAINT LAURENT Marrakech should present the work of this artist, who today is the African embodiment of this international phenomenon. From India to Japan, from the United States to Mali, many artists are engaged in a renaissance of natural dyes and the reappropriation of traditional dyeing techniques. Based on their ancestral knowledge, these artists reject the world of chemistry and synthetic dyes, and explore the links between the use of plants and the beauty of vegetal colors.
The artistic approach of Fofana, whom I met for the first time in 2016 in Bahrain, is all the more moving because it involves the support of several villages in Mali. It is alongside this community, involving new forms of social interaction, that the artist invents or reinvents all this ancestral know-how. With the people living in these villages, and thanks to them, he succeeds in reconstructing processes that allow the dyeing and coloring of fabric with water, sun, clay, and plants. Sharing knowledge, bonding with each other, working together to initiate new forms of communication between the traditional and contemporary worlds, are all at the heart of this artist’s work. The symphony of indigo blue and earthen colors that imbue this exhibition at the mYSLm bears witness to Fofana’s unique approach. In a space where dialogue is encouraged, visitors are invited to discover or rediscover the work of an artist who has been a pioneer in Mali – as others have been elsewhere in the world – in preserving and developing a precious heritage for humanity: natural colors, used by the oldest civilizations, can today be reborn in a world in search of meaning.
— Foreword by Madison Cox, President of the Foundation Garden Majorelle and the Foundation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent