Regional Surveys

Mud Mosques: The Black and White Prints

Dramatically photographed in black and white by Belgian photographer Sebastian Schutyser between 1998-2002, these stark images present the mosque as object. The collection gathers some of the finest adobe mosques of the Niger Inner Delta. Sebastian Schutyser tried to photograph every one of these mosques as an individual structure, with a character of its own, using the shadows and contrasts of the black and white image to highlight the contours and form of the structures. The uniform approach stresses the great variety in style, and the uniqueness of each mosque. Africa has always known an oral tradition in literature. This rich tradition is in peril, as modernity drives the younger generations away from the elderly. Fortunately African authors such as Hampate Ba (Mali) started recording the legends and history of their people. From him, comes the saying that "... every time an old man dies in Africa, a library burns down". Adobe is the architectural equivalent of this oral tradition. This living architecture is vulnerable because it is made of "soft" material. With this black & white collection the photographer tries to record the poetic force of these mosques, and preserve their image for future generations.



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