For several years now, Aboubakar Fofana has been one of those artists, indigo dyers, and gardeners whom I truly and deeply admire and respect. While reading his texts and looking at photos, I have had more eye-opening moments than I can count. His vast knowledge of natural dyes, plants, deep respect for traditions, and exquisite works are what I consider true mastery and artistry.

I always knew that I would have to attend one of his classes someday, but they were consistently held in faraway parts of the world. In the spring of 2022, I noticed that Aboubakar would be teaching classes in France for the first time in Europe after several years, so I simply couldn't miss this opportunity.

I found an apt phrase to describe this entire experience - the 'manifestation of a long-awaited aspiration.' Everything was marvelous - I met interesting people, our host Johanna was wonderful, and even the bicycle ride to the charming Le Coudray Macouard town for 10 kilometers every morning and evening turned out to be great. Most of all, I relished being in the moment, learning, observing, and listening. It was enlightening to see how Aboubakar approached nature and indigo, talked about it, and interacted with the class and each person individually. Before our class, there had been a huge drought in France, and I was glad to see that when we were cleaning up afterward, Aboubakar observed local plants and advised us on which plants would benefit from extra water. This way, we didn’t just pour it on the ground; instead, we nurtured the local environment. Maybe small detail for others, but meaningful to me.

Before and during the class, we were encouraged to look, listen, and learn instead of spending half the time taking artistic photos or videos. I genuinely appreciate this learning and teaching approach. Just a few photos are more than enough to encapsulate the feelings and knowledge behind them.


Photos by Aboubakar Fofana and Johanna Macnaughtan