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In Niger, Assan Ag Midal transforms waste into art

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Copyright © africanews
Abdoulkarim Mahamadou

Art

Assan Ag Midal, a young nigerien with a master's degree in political science who gave up his job as a civil servant to devote himself to what has become his passion, handicraft.

A skill that he embraced by chance. Assan Ag Midal decided to recycle used objects, pallets, tires and cardboard boxes that he collects from garbage dumps. With these objects, Assan Ag Midal, makes sofas, pouffes, tables and decorative paintings by adding colors and authentic Nigerian fabrics. For him nothing is more important than to value and promote his culture.

"What is produced locally, it is cultural. When we do not import something, when we produce it here and we produce it with the means we have, it means that it is already a Nigerien culture that is there. Nobody can appropriate it. When I create a table, I attach a loincloth '' SAKALA TERA-TERA loincloth'', (Authentic of the Zarma ethnic group in the west of the country). Anyone who sees it knows that it is Zarmaganda, Tera-Tera. It is authentic Nigerian and therefore I use this cultural side. And it also allows the visibility of our clothes. Without culture we are nothing" he says.

The works of Assan Ag Midal are very appreciated by the citizens of Niger and expatriates who follow him on line. This is why he has created a gallery where he exhibits his work. Today, he delivers decorative paintings for a restaurant in Niamey that already uses his pouffes, tables and sofas. The promoter of the restaurant is very satisfied because his customers appreciate the good works of Assan Ag Midal.

"... the customers, the first thing, as soon as they come in, they find its beautiful. Many customers want to eat on the pallets, on the tables that you have seen here in front of you. So they are happy and then, it is things that they are not used to seeing. Because we can't decorate our restaurant with paintings that come from Europe when we have our own things to do. So it's to show the world that we can also do something and why not do with time, maybe people will be interested in ordering from us to import to Europe."

One of Assan Ag Midal's objectives is to spread Nigerian culture beyond the borders of his country. To do this, he plans to expand his business and open galleries in the sub-region.