South of the Sahara
Photographs by Marli Shamir
October 25th. 2013. – December 15th. 2013.
Nataše Njegovanović-Ristić, MAA curator
About the exhibition
Currently on display at the Museum of African Art is the photographic exhibition South of the Sahara – photographs by Marli Shamir, curated by Nataše Njegovanović-Ristić. Besides its photographic materials the exhibition has introduced a select number of objects from the Museum’s collections as visual reference to different themes chronicled through the medium of photography. It is therefore possible to (for instance) observe the final shape of a mask that has been caught by the photographic lens in merely an instance of the process of its production by the photographer Marli Shamir.
The collection of photographs by Marli Shamir forms a complete thematic unit and offers an impressive outlook on a part of West Africa through the presentation of its architecture, landscapes, and traditional ways of life, economy, crafts and arts. Although most of the photographs were taken in Mali, the themes they cover encompass the related, much larger area that spreads bellow the Sahara, reaching the tropical forests and, on the other hand, spreading from Senegal to Lake Chad.
The Marli Shamir photos from the "Sahel" series are an important part of the MAA’s photo archive. Because of the passage of time and real changes in situ, they have become even more important to the study, interpretation and presentation of museum objects and the regions they come from. Therefore the Sahel and its architecture, the people and ways of life, as well as the production of different artefacts has been dealt with in the accompanying exhibition catalogue which is illustrated with 43 black and white photographs.
About the Collection
It is thanks to the involvement of Yugoslav Ambassador at UNESCO, Mr. Dragoljub Nayman that the Museum of African Art in Belgrade received in 1980, from the International Fund for Cultural Development (UNESCO), a valuable collection of original art and documentary photographs of Africa taken by eminent Israeli photographer Marli Shamir. The collection of Marli Shamir’s photographs consists of 77 photos reproduced on tin plates. During her stay in Africa between 1968 and 1973, Marli Shamir passionately dedicated herself to documenting landscapes, people, farmers, shepherds, as well as themes that reflect different forms of creativity of the Sahel peoples.