Gilles Coulon
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  • Twenty years old in Bamako, (Mali, 1998)
    Taken in 1998, these photographs of the youth of Bamako portray a generation which is neither dejected nor totally reassured.
    The city, which is now immense and chartered with dirt roads which spread out for miles on end, is a meeting place for young people who get together in groups at nightfall, like they do in the villages.
    Everyone gets on with one another in a friendly, cheerful and respectful manner. People are often flirtatious and also listen to parents speaking; marriage is brought up, and so is work which is often too scarce for such plans.
    One may read into this situation more indolence than insolence. Yes, this is most probably the case, since the young people of Bamako have clearly been deprived of their rebellious spirit.
    After living for thirty-three years under an authoritarian regime, they are now profiting as much as they can from what the Malian democracy can offer.
    As for the question of indolence, there is none: their energy, desire and hope is impressive. And so is their modesty.
    Marie-Laure De Noray
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