My name is Lyle Hansen. I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa working with water and sanitation until the 2012 coup d’etat and war in the north divided the country. Peace Corps evacuated us, having us leave our villages without saying goodbye. Now with your help, I want to go back to Mali and document these wonderful people and amazing culture, sharing with you and the world positive images of Malians not often shown in the news today.
Images are a powerful opening to your world (culture, family,etc). Sharing my images with my Malian friends created amazing moments of cross-cultural storytelling. Families are like families, no matter how far away or culturally different they are. The image of my 96 year old great-grandmother, with her wrinkled face and bone white Einstein-like hair, captivated children, adults, and neighbors all over the village to come see and hear my stories of her. Everyone opened their heart to hear my personal tale and shared a story of their own. I want to return and capture the images of rural Malians and share their stories with you.
Use of Funds
This project is to help cover travel costs, living expenses, and security as I plan to venture across Mali to document the vibrant lives of rural Malians. Being able to speak Bambara and my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer, I will be able to minimize costs within Mali as I am familiar with prices, and make it much easier to communicate and convey the stories of the people I photograph.
All the photograph level pledges will be notified by me when I have uploaded the photo set on my Flickr page. You can select the image you want. I will be printing on Fuji Crystal Archival paper. Every image will be matted in white and framed in black.
Any additional funds will be used to start a campaign to put up large scale photos of respected village elders doing positive sanitation practices in small villages. It would be large scale photo-graffiti with a health message. Malians don’t live in a world with billboards and most people are illiterate. Images are the best means to communicate. Behavior change is difficult, especially with cultural taboos against washing your hands. I hope the excitement of seeing personal images and peer pressure of influential local leaders will start changing behaviors in a healthier way. This was a project I had hoped to do before my volunteer time got cut short.
Malians are the most welcoming people, where they understand you don’t need a lot to be able to give to others. Many times I was in need and someone provided me with food or water, the best they had to give. I want to give back to them by giving recognition to the day to day side of Malians hidden from the view of the world. I want to express the hope and life Malians have through my photography. Their joie de vivre.
When I return, I plan to show this collection at the Oakland Art Murmur, the amazing monthly art festival that takes over Oakland on the first weekend of every month. All supporters of the campaign will be notified and invited to attend the gallery opening.
I ni ce. Thank you
Risks and challenges
The greatest risk is security. I am very familiar with Malian travel and the dangers that go along with venturing to certain areas in the north. I will be cautious and limit my travel to certain parts of the country. Also, I have friends and contacts all across the country and have been communicating with photo-journalists in the area on the current conditions and issues they are facing. I will keep everyone up-to-date on the progress I make, and share any issues that come up.
I am bringing a back-up camera and extra memory cards and batteries in case anything happens with my electronics. I plan on uploading the photo set near the end of November. I will contact everyone to make their choice so you will receive your framed photo in December.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (30 days)