Two Utah-based non-profit organizations partner to showcase the rich history of western Africa.

Kane County Hospital presents, Faces of Mali, a Utah Arts & Museums Traveling Exhibition featuring photographs of village life in western Africa that opens a window for viewers into a region with a 600-year history as a center for scholarship and trade.

The images of Mali villagers were captured by Edgar Gomez-Palmieri and Yeah Samake during recent working visits. Gomez-Palmieri is Co-Founder of the Utah Ecopartnership. Samake is president of Empower Mali, a Sandy-based organization that builds village-owned and operated schools.

“The people of rural Mali have a culture that is rich in tradition and history and it is delightful that people all over Utah will be able to enjoy this photo essay,” said Samake. “Many Utahns already have a positive connection with Malians by helping us explore and record our ancestry, build schools and better educate our children.” For five years a Utah-based biotech firm collected DNA and family history information from Malians in the process of creating the world’s largest repository of correlated genetic genealogical information. Sandy-based Empower Mali helps Mali villages to build schools.

Today’s Republic of Mali includes the legendary Saharan desert city of Timbuktu, a name once used as shorthand for remoteness from Western civilization, which was a crossroads for ancient commercial routes and is believed to have established one of the world’s first universities in the 14th century. Mali has a population of 13 million today and is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 174 of 175 in measures of wealth.

Faces of Mali exhibit is sponsored by two Utah-based non-profit organizations—and the Embassy of Mali. It was first displayed in October 2009 at the Salt Lake City-County Building and was opened by Mali Minister of Secondary Education and Research Ginette Bellegarde, Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City and Samake. The Utah Arts Council traveling exhibits are a statewide outreach program that provides schools, museums, libraries, and community galleries with the opportunity to bring curated exhibitions to their community.

Faces of Mali will be exhibited at Kane County Hospital, 355 N. Main, Kanab,Utah, from March 28th to May 2. KCH lobby is open five days a week, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM. For more information on viewing the exhibition, please call 435-644-4161or go to

About Utah Arts & Museums and the Traveling Exhibit Program

Utah Arts & Museums’ Traveling Exhibit Program is a statewide outreach program that provides schools, museums, libraries, and community galleries with the opportunity to bring curated exhibitions to their community. This program is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on participating in the program, please contact Fletcher Booth at or call 801.824.9177. For media inquiries, please contact Alyssa Hickman Grove, at or call 801.236.7548.

Utah Arts & Museums is a division of the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts (DHA). To enrich the quality of life for the people of Utah, DHA creates, preserves, and promotes Heritage and Arts. The Division provides funding, education, and technical services to individuals and organizations statewide so that all Utahns, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or economic status, can access, understand, and receive the benefits of arts and culture. Additional information on the programs and services can be found at or by calling 801.236.7555.

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