Kuru, the Spirit of the City

Bobo-Dioulasso, the ancient capital of Burkina Faso, was founded in the XIVth century under the auspices of Kuru, the protective deity of urban areas and their occupants. Since then, the city grew up by absorbing the neighboring villages, caused the emergence of new outskirts and became a 1- million metropolis.

Kuru, the spirit of the city explores how ancestral beliefs influence the topography of Bobo-Dioulasso. Or how the invocation of a sense of place symbolically appears in the evolution of city’s physical, social and political geographies. By confronting new urbanization patterns and the original cradle of first inhabitants, this work initiates a wider thinking about the place of spirituality in the construction of contemporary cities.

The textile material visible on some pictures comes from scrap pieces of kôkô donda, a type of loincloths originally used by the poorest layers of society in Burkina Faso before becoming a fashion accessory. Here, it evokes the conflagration of the city during the 2014 uprising against the former president Blaise Compaoré.

Kuru, the spirit of the city was made possible with the support of French Institute in Paris and the City of Nantes.

Bande-Annonce VF (2019)