Timbuktu is a city fabled to exist at the edge of the world, where the southern stretches of the Sahara desert end and a world of rich scholarly tradition, architectural wonder and abundant artistic creativity begins. In reality, it’s located in the West African country of Mali, a place filled to the brim with the kind of unmatched cultural richness that comes from traditions and influences from across the Sahara and Sahel melding together in harmony for centuries – all of which “Mali Magic” on Google Arts & Culture will share with you today.
Though popularly known as the historic home of Mansa Musa (the richest man in the world), the true magic of Mali doesn’t stem from these fractured fables so much as from the pillars that define its culture — its manuscripts, music, monuments and modern art — and their unbelievable resilience to human and environmental threats, thanks to the people’s quest to preserve their heritage.
M is for Mali
Mali’s story has often been told with attention to the violence and political unrest the nation has experienced, namely the 2012 coup and subsequent ten-month Jihadist occupation, which resulted in the destruction of many mausoleums, mosques and monuments, the burning of ancient manuscripts, and the breaking of instruments and cancelling of festivals to silence the music traditions that defined its culture. But the Malian people did not let their culture become a victim of destruction. From saving the ancient manuscripts that families protected for years from total destruction, to the contemporary artistic movements that are rising from times of turmoil, the resilience of Mali’s people and culture has been proven. Read more about their effort to preserve and digitize their libraries here.
Mali Magic on Google Arts & Culture shines a light on these heroic stories of resilience and presents Mali’s monuments, manuscripts, music and modern arts in a digital collection of sound and story like no other.