I am Souleymane Ouologuem, I am a visual artist, I am 34 years old. I have participated at the ‘Festival sur le Niger’ from the beginning until now. I used to go there as an artist in order to exhibit my art-work for then to return to Bamako.
On a trip to France, when leaving from Paris, I met Mamou Daffé, the festival’s manager at the airport as we took the same flight. Then he told me that he would like to work with me at the Festival, and I said:-‘no problem.’ ‘If you’d like to work with me, I am available.’ That festival is my life, he said ‘that is the only thing I do’.
During the last edition, I started to be part of the organization. Before I used to be an invited guest only, but now, I am part of the organization, mainly in the field of visual arts. This year, we will organize a workshop on creativity, a workshop, which that we will coordinated with Hama Kéré Dolo and Youssouf Diarra. The three of us form part of this committee. We were in charge of everything dealing with exhibitions and workshops. We organized everything and we did our best for the workshop to be a success. Our work was well done and concrete so everybody was impressed. Right from that time I became a member of the organizational team of the Festival sur le Niger. He [Mamou] assigned me this responsibility at the organization of the festival; I am the representative of the Festival sur le Niger in Bamako, in charge of the visual arts exhibitions and workshops.
First of all, I can say that I was really touched by the acknowledgement I felt and this made me took the decision to join the festival. And also by the responsibility given to me, as it made me responsible for attracting other people to the festival. I have also conducted a workshop and that was a new thing for me. Before I used to be part of the organisational team, but in this case it was a specific task, which I hadn’t experienced before, my first experience was at the Festival.
I saw myself as an artist, that’s the meaning. I think he [Daffé] saw something in me that impressed him and made him think that I could be useful in that perspective. And that made me see myself as an artist.
I could say that it had a great impact on my career because it increased my popularity at, both, the local and international levels. I feel dignified.
Concerning my family, I can say thanks to God, because they used to complain about my work but now they can see some improvement; they have seen that I am moving forward.