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Dome: Terracotta dolls

February 2024

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Maïmouna s'emparait de Nabou et l'asseyait dignement

au milieu du coussin. Elle se recueillait ensuite et faisait la voix de celle qui entend frapper à la porte.

- Entrez. disait-elle, et, à mi-voix, sermonnait la "dome".

- Tiens-toi donc comme il faut; vois, les hôtes de marque arrivent.

Maïmouna, Abdoulaye Sadji, 1952



This collection of six dolls was crafted during a residency at SuperOtium in Naples, Italy, drawing inspiration from the narrative of Maïmouna, the protagonist of Senegalese author Abdoulaye Sadji's (1910-1961) works. Maïmouna traverses her social ascent to Dakar accompanied by her doll Nabou. Crafted with Naples-based Senegalese tailor Haruna, these archives evoke the collective memory of Maïmouna's dolls.


Known as "dome" in Wolof, the dolls refer both as a plaything for children and a symbolic representation deeply rooted in the Neapolitan Presepe tradition utilizing terracotta to craft miniatures. These dolls prompt reflection on how Western cultures have gradually disconnected from indigenous clothes, a connection still upheld in diasporic traditions, offering valuable lessons for all. 

These photographs were taken during the SuperOtium residency restitution  exhibition in Naples. This residency received support from the Goethe Institute, the European Union, Pierre Preira and Circolo Scandinavo. 


Photography: Amadeo Benestante

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