Maria Thereza Alves

 
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Diothio Dhep, 2004

Video transferred to DVD, 2:35 min.
Color, sound

Diothio Dhep is a video made in Joal –Fadiouth in Senegal.

Moussa Gueye, a local high school student, whom Alves met in the countryside, decided to act as her guide. One day on the way back home, he explained about a small island that they were passing just by the side of the road. ‘Diothio Dhep’ means in the Serere language, ‘the small cemetery’, where respected animals such as cows, horses, donkeys and dogs are placed. But, Moussa explained it had fallen into disuse. When Alves asked him why, he said that his generation had forgotten the tradition. One of the results was that these dead animals were being dumped in the sea thereby contaminating the water used for washing clothes.

For several days, Moussa and Alves visited Diothio Dhep. From the road, people walking to fields or to town could see them. Speaking about what could they be doing on Diothio Dhep re-introduced the word, ‘the small cemetery’, in daily conversation and the possibility of its purpose could return. By the end of the week, a dead donkey had been placed on Diotheo Dhep. The video is a documentation of this process. The work is based on the potential of gossip – in this case, Alves made use of its positive potential.

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