Christien Jaspars (Panos Pictures) and related links

The Dutch photographer Christien Jaspars first visited West Africa in 1982 and spent much of the next decade in Mali studying Bogolanfini, the art of printing textiles with mud. It wasn't untill 12 years after she first travelled to Mali that she began photographing the people and communities she lived among. Her photo essay on the annual 'fete de crépissage', the ritual refurbishment of the Grand Mosque in Djenné is a unique record of this event. The festival has no fixed date. It is dependent on the elders of the community deciding when the mud in the river has reached the corret consistency to be applied to the walls of the mosque. The last time Christien photographed the festival she had to wait in Djenné for five weeks until the elders concurred. This, in an age of guick fixes, probably explains why the event had never previously been photoghraphed. Even with her standing in the community Christien still didn't feel able to photograph the festival on the first two occasions she attended, preferring instead to perform the traditional female role of carrying water to the masons working on the mosque.

Panos Pictures Christien Jaspers is represented by Panos Pictures in London. Click here to go to the website of Panos Pictures or call +44 20 7234 0010 to contact the agency