Director Igo Diarra of Galerie Medina and Dolly Kola-Balogun of Retro Africa curated a special project at the Gennadius Library in Athens,Greece as part of Documenta 14.

The exhibition featured ancient manuscripts from Timbuktu and commissioned works from Boubacar Sadek, Mamary Diallo , Abdoulaye Ndoye, Abdou Ouologuem and Seydou Camara.

From the salt mines of Taoudeni in the region of Timbuktu in the Republic of Mali, our artists took on these “Odyssean parchments.” On the back of camels, like the legendary caravan travellers, princes of the vast sandy dunes, they dreamt of one day earning reputations that would extend across the entire Sahara, reaching the Mediterranean sea and beyond. From Timbuktu to Athens, these new Ulysses crossed the sea, joining two cities through the strength and magic of art. The contemporary travellers of Timbuktu arrive in Athens with their thousand year old merchandises, taken from the trunks of families, jealously preserved over the centuries. These traces of human history, revisited, reinvented and exalted by today's scribes, are unveiled at this exhibition "Learning from Timbuktu" at Documenta 14,at the heart of the prestigious Gennedius library. Our great poet Albakaye Ousmane Kounta of Timbuktu, loved to say that only knowledge could give true honour to tomorrow’s youthful nation, bringing pride to their fathers and kin... That we should all attain such honour in life, so that together we may build one of the most beautiful bridges in the world: a bridge of ink and paper.


Athens – Greece

Media Coverage

Featured Artist(s)

No items found.



No items found.