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Glorious Mud

Christien's photo essay on the annual 'fete de crepissage', the ritual refurbishment of the Grand Mosque in Djenne 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 correct consistency to be applied to the walls of the mosque. The last time Christen photographed the festival she had to wait in Djenne for five weeks until the elders concurred. This, in an age of quick fixes, probably explains why the event had never previously been photographed. 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.
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