Press Releases

Dorsky Museum announces public programs for current exhibitions on West African photography


NEW PALTZ – The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz announces a series of free public education programs in connection with the exhibitions Malian Portrait Photography and Photo-Rapide: François Deschamps, now on view through April 14, 2013 in The Dorsky Museum’s Alice and Horace Chandler and North Galleries. All programs take place on the SUNY New Paltz campus.

West African Film Series

February 20, 5 p.m., Lecture Center 104
March 6, 5 p.m., Coykendall Science Building Auditorium
March 20, 5 p.m., Coykendall Science Building Auditorium
April 5, 5 p.m., Coykendall Science Building Auditorium

Symposium: Mali in Transition: Malian Art, Artists and Politics

March 9, 1 – 4 p.m., Dorsky Museum and Lecture Center 108

West African Concert featuring Yacouba Sissoko

April 9, 5 p.m., Dorsky Museum

“We are pleased to present these programs in association with our new exhibitions on the studio portrait tradition in the West African nation of Mali,” says Daniel Belasco, The Dorsky Museum’s Curator of Exhibitions and Programs. “These programs are especially poignant and timely in light of the current political situation in northern Mali. They give our audiences a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of the long-standing, world-renowned cultural traditions of this area from a variety of perspectives through art, music, photography, and film.”


West African Film Series
(Co-sponsored The Dorsky Museum and the Black Studies Department)

This series presents four recent films by some of the leading Malian filmmakers based in Africa, Europe, and North America. Environment, family, and global politics are seen through the unique lens of rural and urban life in Mali today.

Bamako Sigi-Kan (2003)
February 20, 5 p.m.
Lecture Center 104

Set in Bamako, capital of Mali, this unconventional documentary tells the story of the return of the director, Manthia Diawara (Professor of Comparative Literature and Africana Studies at New York University), to his hometown to see how his childhood friends are coping with globalization. Full of nostalgia, he is confronted with the everyday reality of the city, surprised that his childhood buddies have different and often contradictory views.

Faraw! Mother of the Dunes (1997)
March 6, 5 p.m.
Coykendall Science Building Auditorium

Faraw! is a family drama set against the immense backdrop of the Sahara desert directed by Abdoulaye Ascofaré. Spanning only twenty-four hours, the film follows the fortunes of Zamiatou, a mother of two quarrelsome boys and a depressed teenage girl, whose husband returns from prison in a diminished state. Willing to face anything to keep the family alive, Zamiatou’s determination takes her far from her family.

La Genèse (1999)
March 20, 5 p.m.
Coykendall Science Building Auditorium

Director Cheik Oumar Sissoko relocates the Book of Genesis in the nation of Mali to explore family and tribal relations. Brothers Jacob and Esau are locked in a heated rivalry while the each experience pain and loss. The situation comes to a head when Jacob’s daughter Dina is raped by the member of another tribe and her brothers seek vengeance.

Bamako (2006)
Wednesday, April 3, 5 p.m.
Coykendall Science Building Auditorium

Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, the film depicts a fantastical trial taking place in the courtyard of a bustling apartment building in Bamako. Using largely improvised dialogue, African civil society spokesmen have taken proceedings against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, whom they blame for Africa's woes. Amidst the pleas and the testimonies, daily life goes on in the courtyard.

Symposium: Mali in Transition: Malian Art, Artists, and Politics
March 9, 1 – 4 p.m.

A tour of The Dorsky Museum exhibitions Malian Portrait Photography and Photo-Rapide: François Deschamps is followed by a series of lectures and conversations in the Lecture Center. Noted scholars and artists discuss the historical development of the Malian photographic tradition and the current scene in Mali.

Tour with curator Daniel M. Leers
1 p.m. (Dorsky Museum, Chandler Gallery)
Co-sponsored with the Honors Program

Daniel M. Leers is an independent curator based in New York City. From 2007-2011 he was the Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Leers is currently a Curatorial Advisor to the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Malian Portrait Photography, lecture by Candace Keller
2 p.m. (Lecture Center 108)

Candace Keller is Assistant Professor of Art History at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on the history of photography in Africa, particularly Mali, with an emphasis on local theoretical perspectives and aesthetics.

Malian Politics, lecture by Janet Goldner
2:30 p.m. (Lecture Center 108)

Janet Goldner is a New York City-based artist whose work explores sculptural form, her ongoing relationship with Malian culture, and her lifelong involvement in political activism. Her art was included in The Global Africa Project at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2010-11).

Working with Malian Artists, panel discussion with Candace Keller, Daniel M. Leers, François Deschamps, and Janet Goldner (moderator)
3 p.m. (Lecture Center 108)

François Deschamps teaches photography and related media at the State University of New York in New Paltz. His exhibition of photographs and mixed media works Photo-Rapide (currently on view at The Dorsky) resulted from his immersion in the Malian portrait photography tradition during a Fulbright fellowship to Mali in 2010-11.

West African Music Concert
April 9, 5 p.m. (The Dorsky Museum)

A concert featuring traditional West African music by Yacouba Sissoko, a master kora player, with Famoro Dioubate on the Mandeng balafon.

Yacouba Sissoko was born in Kita, Mali. His grandfather, Samakoun Tounkara, began teaching Yacouba the Djely griot tradition when he was 12 years old. In his career, he has traveled to almost every nation on the African continent, as well as most of Europe, Canada, the US and Australia. He is in demand as one of the best kora players in the world, playing with jazz, Latin and R & B bands as well as traditional African ceremonies.

Famoro Dioubate was born in Conakry, Guinea to a griot family, learning many ancient traditions. He is the grandson of El Hadj Djelli Sory Kouyate, a living legend of the Mandeng balafon. Dioubate was a member of the Ensemble Instrumental National (a national symphony of traditional music). Living in the United States since the late nineties, he has worked as a free-lance musician for a variety of groups and dance companies in performances and recordings.

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, located at SUNY New Paltz, is fast gaining wide recognition as the premier public showplace for exhibition, education, and cultural scholarship about the Hudson Valley region’s art and artists from yesterday and today. With more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space distributed over six galleries, the Dorsky Museum is one of the largest museums within the SUNY system. The Dorsky was officially dedicated on Oct. 20, 2001. Since then it has presented over one hundred exhibitions, including commissions, collection-based projects, and in-depth studies of artists including Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Judy Pfaff, and Carolee Schneemann.

For more information about The Dorsky Museum and its programs, visit, or call (845) 257-3844.

If you are a person with a disability who will require special accommodations please contact Amy Pickering at 845.257.3844
no later than one week before the event.