Adobe Mosques of Mali

Every time an old man dies in Africa, a library burns down


Adobe mosques of Mali

Within the range of African art there is little consideration for architecture. In the first place, this is a consequence of the non-durability of the used materials, such as adobe. However, the continent developed some remarkable and long-lasting styles. African architecture is a living architecture. As the word is passed on in oral cultures, the essential features of these building styles are handed over from generation to generation throughout the centuries.

Among the finest architectural expressions in Africa are the adobe mosques of Mali. The introduction of modern construction methods and materials poses a serious threat to the continuity of raw earth — locally known as banco — architecture, which needs permanent care. The thousands of small village mosques are the living tissue of this ancient and eco-friendly architecture.

This photographic project is paying tribute to the beauty of a little known architecture. The use of large format black & white photography reveils morphology and structure of these original buildings. The uniform composition stresses the wide variety in style. At the same time this is a work of conservation. Because just as old men die in Africa, without passing their secrets on to the young who orient themselves more and more to western values, adobe mosques disappear, while concrete and corrugated iron take their place.


Out of print