According to the international organization, UN Women, 35% of women in Mali have experienced sexual violence. In addition to this high rate, Malian women are further violated by an unspoken cultural norm called sutura, a tradition that psychologically grooms women and girls to conceal, forgive, and bear their sufferings in order to avoid a culturally-construed sense of shame.
Renowned Malian performing artist, Fatoumata Bagayoko, has designed a dance performance workshop titled Musow Kumkan (Women’s Voice) for Musow Ka Touma Sera, an exhibition of six Malian photographers whose work examines the tradition of sutura. The workshop seeks to provide a safe space to share thoughts on sexual violence and encourages participants to speak out and understand the impact of words on individual actions and the collective achievement. Spoken words will be translated into a series of individual movements and a final group choreography. The workshop aims to help participants find a renewed sense of self-confidence through voice and body.
Everyone is welcome to participate. Please dress comfortably. Refreshments will be provided, but bring your own water as a reserve.
The performance will be accompanied by a live band with traditional Malian instruments.
Like many children, Fatoumata Bagayoko danced for traditional ceremonies in her neighborhood. While originally she pursued a technical degree in electricity, her desire for an artistic career eventually took her to the National Institute of Arts in Bamako. After graduating, she entered the Balla Fasseke Kouyate Conservatory of Arts and Multimedia in Bamako, and obtained a 5-year program diploma with a specialty in dance. During this time, she received training in traditional dance with Karim Togola and Kardjigue Laico Traore as well as with internationally recognized dancers and choreographers: Opiyo Okach, Pierre Doussaint, Serge Aime Coulibaly, Reggie Wilson, Gregory Maqoma, Herman Diephuis, to name a few. Bagayoko’s solo Fatou t’as tout fait (Fatou tried it all) was first presented at the festival Dense Bamako Danse in November 2015 where she received 1st Prize from the Foundation Orange, Mali. The piece also won 1st prize at the Bobo Dialasso competition Simply the Best Africa, 2016 (Ankata/Serge-Aime Coulibaly) and the ZBK Acknowledgment Prize 2017 at Zurcher Theater Spektakel in Zurich. Bagayoko heads a dance company called Jiriladon and in addition to her choreographic work, she has been teaching dance to the girls in her neighborhood for several years. She also leads the project Kene Koura (New Space) dedicated to teaching dance to girls. In life and in her work, Fatoumata brings her art to protest violence against women.