January 13, 2017

Ouadane at the end of 2016

December 24, 2016

Octopus pots from Mauritania travelling around the world

octopus pots, Nouakchott beach, 2013
This drawing dating from 2013 was published in a local magazine Citymag where I tell the story and the exchanges with an American Wildlife biologist, Tom Pitchford, who's interested in the impact on the environment of the plastic traps used to fish the octopus. (original post in French in citymag here)

octopus traps in Nouakchott beach November 2016

He contacted me to find out if ever I had drawn a octopus trap. I had never heard of them but next time I was in the beach I saw that they were omnipresent.

These traps made of plastique and containing a ballast in cement in the interior are used in the Northeast Atlantic (Spain and Portugal) and the Eastern Central Atlantic (Morocco and Mauritania) to capture the octopus.

Cement is tied in the interior of the pots with ropes to serve as ballast. It comes a moment of tear and wear where it breaks and the pots are free from weight. I suppose they're in bunches because spread in the beach you find them individually or still tied in grapes. But the moment that most of the pots loose their ballast they break free and start moving around pushed by the currents of the ocean.

Tom contacted me because pots are turning up in California, Bermudas, Bahamas, Caribbean, Cape Vert and probably a lot more places he doesn't know about yet.

He says in an article that :
“Little Cayman getting a plastic pot from the Western Sahara is the same as the UK receiving plastic debris from the United States, or Florida receiving plastic items from the Caribbean. We are all on the conveyor belt, the plastic is circulating the gyres (large systems of rotating ocean currents),” he said, adding that storms can pull the debris out of the gyres and onto beaches. ( full article here)
Cape Vert
He said tracing the source of the octopus pots and finding out they had travelled halfway around the world on the sea was indicative of the persistent plastic marine pollution that is being seen globally. 
For century's octopus were fished using clays pots reverting to this technique and stopping the use of plastique would be a better alternative for the future of the planet.
Turks and Caicos Islands

Kayak, Sénégal
octopus pot found in Florida origin Mauritania
All photos sent by Tom Pitchford

December 18, 2016

Travelling across the Sahara, sharing time with the nomads

Jean-Pierre Valentin, Dires Nomades à Nouakchott
The French ethnographe, Jean-Pierre Valentin came to Nouakchott to talk about the Sahara desert and spending time with nomadic/pastoral groupes like the Tuaregs, the Moors and the Mbororo (Fulani). Crossing enormous areas through Mauritania, Mali and Niger by car or by camel caravan. He documents his work through photography and film and you can find excerpts in his website.

Time and space loose their boundaries and silence and the magique of sounds became magical. listening to him the small groupe of people attending the event was spellbound.

Solli Ladde (2012) : "Les oiseaux de la brousse" avec Tibé, jeune chanteuse wodaabe et les arrangements musicaux de Boris Lelong, sur des images - montées par Boris - du documentaire de Jean-Pierre Valentin "Niger, dans les pas de Kabo Ana"

December 12, 2016

sketching Mauritania in the Lisbon Moleskine

green house 
practice time

trying the costumes and wigs

story teller from Maroc, Halima Hamdane
I just got out the Lisbon moleskine from the Urbansketchers symposium in 2011. It has been a long time since I used this format and having a bit of trouble adapting.

October 28, 2016

quick sketches at Nouakchott's Festivals and events

public at Karama

Festival Karama, droit des hommes

National Museum, Nouakchott

journées d'artisanat

Mauritanian Afro



Nouakshortfilm 2016

October 03, 2016

El Medh chez Mohamed Ali

In a roof at Arafat
El Medh, songs of praise for the prophet
El Medah, he that sings the songs 
Thursday night on a rooftop on the neighborhood of Arafat, Nouakchott.
An invitation to celebrate the birth of a little girl. After a wonderful dinner, the music started. Most of the people on the roof men and women were singers of Medh, the songs of praise for the prophet Mohamed.
Two drums, voices and the hands clapping, beautiful.
Mohamed Ali, the host is in charge of the Festival of Medh that happens every year in Nouakchott during Ramadan. He organises musique in different neighborhoods and in the city center at the Village de la Biodivérsité.

Here's a link for a video from this years Festival enjoy.

June 08, 2016

Concert in the beach

As part of the international day for the refugees the HCR in Mauritania decided to organise a concert and an exhibition in the IFM and sometime before the real date because they didn't want to do it during Ramadan.. They brought a small groupe of people from the refugee camps of Mbera and two musical groups both tuareg.  That happened a Tuesday.
We asked them to stay a few more days.

Amano ag Issa 
Amano et Mohamed 
very young photographer
And on Sunday a concert was organized in the beach,at the Restaurant Oceanides, the idea behind was to show support and to try to get a bit of cash the musicians could take back with them. I was in charge of the communication and a lot of people joined us. 
What was great was that everybody contributed generously and that will make a difference to the families of those musiciens for a small while at least. 
Amano et Aisha
Abebakrim et Mohamed


A small sample of the music of Tadiazt and of the ''dance of the saber'' can be seen here 

May 30, 2016

pencils and musique in Nouakchott

Malouma Meidah 
Fran Molina & Carmen Cervantes
Mohamed Seyid
Babi & Dental Orchestra