The program Djeka Miri Encounters, was held at a period when Mali lived an unfortunate phase in its history. The various crises that had shaken the tranquillity of the country had just calm down a bit. Because of efforts of France and several international forces, most of the territories occupied by the rebels had just been freed, with the exception of Kidal. The political crisis softened with the establishment of political institutions and the democratic election of a president who had just taken office. However, some chaotic situations remained pending: the total liberation of Malian territory from the rebels; the eradication of the growing insecurity and the economic crisis experienced by the entire country and the establishment of a lasting peace. Finally, the severe Ebola disease came late at year‐end for increasing the country’s problems.
Thus the Soleil d’Afrique Center initiated the program Djeka‐Miri Encounters to make a modest contribution in the resolution of the mentioned problems. The program is a series of activities, which started in October 2013 and will continue until early 2016. The program was designed to revitalize and enhance the level of visual arts in Mali through meeting spaces and engaging interaction with the local audience. The program wanted to provide Malian artists a framework for exchange, analysis of what they have experienced during the crisis in order to propose solutions for peace and absolute tranquility.
The project reached nearly 70% of people following the mass media and 85% of artists in Mali through 12 broadcasts reporting on television channels, radio stations, newspapers, blogs, websites, YouTube, video, Facebook, tweeters. More than 190 artists and professionals have benefited directly from project interventions. Soleil d'Afrique reached a record of its audience since its creation (over 8320 direct visitors); 29 international artists have been involved.
Djeka‐Miri Encounters confirmed the leadership of Soleil d’Afrique since it gathers several artists at work; The project also improved the image of national artists and demonstrates that art can play a role in lobbying, in building sustainable peace and social cohesion. Soleil d’Afrique has expanded its management team with the establishment of representative offices in the regions. The project has improved the performance of the visual arts sector in Mali; it allowed the Malian artists to remain in the competition on national and international level. The successful elements to highlight was:
- The innovative aspect: for the first time in Mali visual arts are involved in the search for social stability.
- The massive participation of the public in the artistic project.
- The dynamism in the exchanges and performances of artists because of the participation of foreign artists during all the steps of the project.
- The symbolic materialization of peace through the wall paintings With the local population inside the country at local level;
- The street exhibition of the works especially dedicated to women and the concept of developing creations aroused the curiosity of the local public.
- The involvement of local cultural actors and operators in the project.
Hama Goro, director of Centre Soleil d’Afrique, Mali