Just over six months ago, you were an instrumental part of Drum Casket in Bamako. I was at Amery's side, in Bamako, Mali. We were immersed in another culture, pooling all our energy and creativity and determination to make Drum Casket happen, from building the plywood box alongside carpenter Badou, accompanying Sidy to the market to buy his cow, to the long hours on the rooftop of our building with drum builder Madoudjan turning the cow hide from skin to drum head. And finally, on our last day there, inviting our Malian and American friends there to join us in our courtyard to play Drum Casket.
So now, I'm writing you from our living room in Brooklyn, NY. I've spent the morning putting finishing touches on a photo book that Amery and I designed for the documentation I did in Bamako. And on my right, where our kitchen table should be, is a Drum Casket. This is not the Drum Casket built in Mali. This is a new Drum Casket. In June, our apartment was turned into a studio for building this piece. It is birch plywood, with a light stain. Stretched over the top of the lid is a single buffalo hide. The piece was presented as a part of Bushwick Open Studios. Under an open-sided black tent, Amery, Sarah Donnelly, Todd Donnelly and I spent the day hosting the drum for a truly unending stream of people. Reactions from visitors varied from amazement to shock to curiosity, to a deep sense of connection and familiarity. Overwhelmingly, people wanted more. They wanted to learn more about it, see it again, experience it again, share the experience with their friends.
This is all to say thank you, again. Amery and I want you to know that you did not fund a finite project. You funded an ongoing and growing piece of artwork that is alive and well. You helped give us the momentum and inspiration to let this artwork take us on an incredible adventure. Where is Drum Casket going next? Well, we can't tell you that yet.. just know that this isn't the last you'll hear of it.
Drum Casket in Bamako, Mali.
Drum Casket at Bushwick Open Studios, Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Matt Sweeney.)