Ronna Neuenschwander graduated in ceramics and became an office manager of a glass factory, working on her sculpture during her free time. After surviving a plane crash in 1979, she reconsidered her priorities and quit her job to devote herself to art. The artist traveled to Africa to study the animals that she wanted to sculpt. Along with the rest of her caravan, Ronna was stranded in the desert outside of Timbuktu when the drought prevented travel by water. Lost in the heat and dust for two days, she was sustained by the calm confidence of the native people. Ronna met her husband, Baba Wagué Diakité, in Mali, and her work blends the motifs, traditions, and materials of both of their cultures.