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Papisto Boy
Imagine painting a mural on a wall that stretches as long as two football fields. On that mural you paint many images of people who you think are important to the history of the world. An artist named Papisto did just that. When Papisto Boy (whose real name is Pape Samb) was ten years old, he came to the city of Dakar. He still lives there in a tiny one-room shack that has just enough space for the hammock he sleeps on. He has been working on the mural for many years. On the wall he has painted pictures of local workers, world leaders like Nelson Mandela of South Africa and even popular singers, especially Bob Marley. More than any other image, Papisto has painted the Sufi saint whose teachings he follows: Amadu Bamba. Many local people and visitors to the area admire the work of Papisto and the story of world history that his mural tells. One person who does not want the mural to exist is the owner of the factory on whose wall Papisto has painted the mural. Papisto argues that whatever occurs within the walls of the factory is the managerís business, but that the exterior walls facing onto the road belong to the people of the city.

Papisto Boy
Portion of the Belaire factory mural. (Photo taken in 1999) The mural stretches about 600 feet along the outer walls of a factory compound. The work is always in progress and portraits are often added, sometimes right over portraits of other people. The people depicted on the mural include entertainers, world leaders and human-rights activists. Papisto calls his work literature and poetry and intends it to teach his view of world history. Can you identify any of the individuals portrayed? What figures would you include in such a mural?

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