From Kabul to Bamako: A journey along the Silk Road

ETHICAL FASHION INITIATIVE

June 2019

This June we staged a theatrical performance at BOZAR Brussels as part of the European Development Days. Directed by Clara Bauer, Kabul to Bamako was a journey through space and time along the Silk Road through Afghanistan to Africa at the height of the Mali Empire. Performers wore costumes created by EFI social enterprise partners in Burkina Faso and Afghanistan. 

Based on words by Atiq Rahimi, Rumi and Edoardo Galeano. Music directed by Saïd Assadi. 

Kabul to Bamako reminded us that there were no visas, no passports and no borders for most of our shared human history. Until fourth-century Rome, when freedom of movement was restricted for serfs, travelling was as natural as the tides. We moved constantly, in waves, North, South, East and West, carrying our ideas, knowledge, culture and technology. Advanced civilisations emerged where our paths crossed and our human traffic was heaviest.

Photograph © EFI/Xavier Lejeune Photography

Afghanistan, prosperous thanks to gold and precious stones, once stood at the heart of the Silk Road, which connected China to the Near East, Europe and East Africa through a network of trade routes. 

Photograph © EFI/Xavier Lejeune Photography

All costumes were produced by EFI Social Enterprise partners in Afghanistan and Burkina Faso. Pictured here are silk dresses by Zarif Design, handmade in Kabul. 

Photograph © EFI/Xavier Lejeune Photography

Coats by Zazi Vintage provided a splash of colour, and cleverly doubled up as sheep’s costumes during the performance!

Photograph © EFI/Xavier Lejeune Photography

Costumes by CABES, our SE partners in Ouagadougou, made with handwoven Burkinabé cotton and adding a splash of African warmth. Music was directed by Saïd Assadi and performed by the Ensemble Kabul, Arat Kilo, Mamani Keita and Alireza Ghorbani.

Photograph © EFI/Xavier Lejeune Photography

From Kabul to Bamako

See the video here.