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Photography - Issue #1

The Great Mosque

Photography by Annie Risemberg

Every year the people of Djenné, Mali, come together in an act of resistance. Beyond the looming threat of the militants active in the vicinity, the traditionally constructed mud buildings are under constant threat from the elements. Mali’s hot, arid climate, punctured by the rain season, is harsh on the mud buildings of Djenné, causing cracks and erosion.To preserve and protect the walls of Djenné’s GreatMosque, every year, before the rains come, the residents gather together to re-plaster the walls – an act known as the crépissage de la Grande Mosquée (the plastering of the Great Mosque).

The mosque stands in relative peace the day before the crépissage.

While sitting on one of the mosque’s many palm beams, a teenager applies the banco mix.

Men and boys carry the banco mix in baskets from the pits to the Great Mosque.

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