In late June 1990, a civil war in Mali broke out between the nomadic Tuareg people and government forces. The war raged on until 1996, when the Tuareg agreed to disarm; however, the war created lasting distrust between the various groups within the Saharan country’s borders. The Festival Au Desert, which draws on the Tuareg tradition of meeting seasonally to peacefully settle disputes, emerged in response. The celebration draws people from across the region. Artists share their music and dance to emphasize what they have in common, rather than what separates them. Cultures of Resistance attended the celebration in 2009. This short film highlights the event’s approach to promoting cross-cultural expression as a means of overcoming the threat of divisive conflict.
The film is also available on Vimeo.