"Timbuktu, Alpha and Omega of the desert, is a place every traveler dreams of, but whose mystery is only revealed to those who see with the eyes of the heart."
Can a journey change ones life forever? Is it possible to feel a strange and powerful connection with a place thousands of kilometers from ones birthplace? What is it that leads one to a certain place at a particular moment in time?
In 1989, a totally unexpected opportunity arose for a young art student from Spain called Irene: to travel along the arc of the Niger River in Mali. Thus commenced an adventure into the unknown that echoed with a mythical name: TIMBUKTU.
Although many years passed before Irene finally visited Timbuktu, that first trip in 1989 marked a turning point in her life. It was also the beginning of an inner transformation, as her travels in Mali became an inexhaustible source of creative inspiration over the next 30 years.
Since 2012 that world is no longer, as jihadist incursions have led to instability and violence. This tragedy has inspired Irene to recall and record her own firsthand experiences of a place that, for her, radiated only beauty, peace and love. With Memories of the Niger River her hope is to sustain the light that continues to live in the heart of the Sahel.
Memories of the Niger River is a journey, illustrated with sketches, artworks, and photographs, that will seduce you with the magnetism of Africa. Reflecting the emotions inspired by Irenes experiences, it reveals her evolution as an artist, through encounters with the beauty of Africa that became the source of her inspiration.
Irene López de Castro (Madrid, 1967) has exhibited in Paris, Biarritz, Madrid, Barcelona, Venice, Milan, Verona, Syracuse, Seoul, London, and Florence. In 2017, a major exhibition of her work was held in the Musée National du Mali in Bamako, organized by the Spanish Embassy. Her work depicting the Sahel and the women of Timbuktu has also been exhibited at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Córdoba, Spain (2019), the Reial Cercle Artistic in Barcelona (2020), and the Casa Árabe in Madrid (2021). www.irenelopezdecastro.com