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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Local Photographer Speaks About His Work in Mali

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 9:23 AM

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A crisp black and white photo of a Malian woman’s back — light shining from her right side making her shoulders glow and the intricately designed hair-wrap on her head shine, is just one of the moments captured by local photographer Joseph Edgar.

The West African nation of Mali is under increasing pressure as Islamist groups clash with rebels in the northern region of the country. While the conflict has reached a fever pitch in recent months, the nation has faced sporadic fighting for years.

In 2010, Joseph Edgar spent a semester in Mali as part of an abroad program facilitated by Antioch University.
Edgar chose to pursue what he called the rich history of photography in Mali through an apprenticeship with Malian photographer Fatoumata Diabate.
“I had been interested in photography on an amateur level since junior high, and when I got to Mali I figured I’d go that route.” Edgar said.

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Edgar, now 32, went about capturing the day-to-day life in Mali, depicting a normalness that, in context, says volumes about life in the West African nation.
“The conflict wasn’t as much an issue in the time I was there—given the other things the country struggles with I don’t think people living their lives had the sporadic fighting in the north on their minds.” Edgar said.

This month, his work is on display at the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill. He gives an artist's talk today at 6 p.m.

His collection features photographs capturing a community of artists living in the southwestern state Bamako.

Edgar, a Pitt grad, is a writer and actor as well as a photographer. The work in the exhibit, titled Afternoons in Bamako: Mali 2010, is the culmination of an apprenticeship with Malian photographer Fatoumata Diabate.

Edgar's talk today is free and takes place in the library's Meeting Room B. The library (412-422-9650) is located at 5801 Forbes Ave.

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