Passport to Paradise Curriculum Resource
TABLE OF CONTENTS
About the Exhibition
and Curricular Correlations
In this important introductory section, teachers and students are
introduced to Islam—its precepts and history in Africa. Discussions
and activities highlight Islam’s shared history with Christianity and
Judaism and examine African Islamic forms, including manuscripts, talismans,
and Koranic boards that demonstrate a fusion of Islamic ideas with African
aesthetic sensibilities. Activities examine the themes of A Shared
History, Early Islam, Islam in Africa, and The Sufi Way.
AMADU BAMBA AND
THE ARTS OF THE MOURIDE MOVEMENT
Lesson One: The Life of a Saint
The Sufi saint Amadu Bamba is introduced in this lesson through
historical accounts and glass paintings depicting narrative scenes of
the saint’s life. Art, history, and writing extensions allow teachers
to explore the rich imagery surrounding the worship of the saint and
creation of the Mouride movement.
The Aura of Mass Produced Imagery
The relationship of the "original" photographic image
of Bamba to its infinite variations in posters, banners, plaques, lithographs
and even web sites is the subject of this second lesson. Such limitless
variations attest to the power of the mass produced image and the role
of technology in the diverse interpretations of Bamba iconography. On-line
resources will enhance students’ access to and understanding of the
THE ACTIVE IMAGE
Lesson Three: A Devotional Sanctum
Through video footage and interviews with the marabouts and artists
(available on the web), students and teachers have the opportunity to
"enter" a devotional sanctum—or "imagorium." Activities
and discussions will guide students to an understanding of how such
spaces and the images they contain (themselves repositories of secret
knowledge that encode Bamba’s divine teachings), structure devotion
The Mouride Work Ethic
Students’ journey through urban Senegal is the focus of this lesson
and introduces them to the far-reaching presence of Bamba imagery in
contemporary life. Video footage and discussions with urban workers
allow students to explore the meanings such images hold in these settings.
The rich plethora of Bamba images offers exciting options for art and
Art and writing experiences explore some of the mystical dimensions
of Mouride arts, especially those of divination and calligraphy. Again,
video footage of the arts in use, accessed through the web, will enhance
students’ understanding of the meanings of these works in acts of devotion.
Language extensions explore the Islamic magic square and the writings
of the Sufi poet Rumi.
An Architecture of the Word
Students study the Mouride mosque complex built entirely from reed,
the structure itself a kind of mystical writing that evokes Qur'anic
verses. Video footage takes students through the conception and building
of the mosque and expands the dialogue about architecture as a kind
of three-dimensional sacred writing.
Apostles of Hard Work
This lesson focuses on the sanctification of work as expressed through
the Baye Falls movement associated with Bamba’s teachings. Discussions
will explore the teachings of Bamba’s followers, which have played a
role in the transformation of urban Senegal. The principles of self-reliance
and dedicated toil are a worthy avenue of study for American young people.
devoted to the place of Mouride women in Senegalese society offers the
opportunity to dispel Western stereotypic notions of gender in the Islamic
SUFI ARTS ON
A GLOBAL DIMENSION
Lesson Nine: Global Networks
Global Networks examines the degree to which Mouride arts extend
to the global contemporary art scene. Paintings, sculptures, and musical
expressions suggest the vibrant ways that the "local goes global"
in Mouride arts. Mouride expressions on the web are telling examples
of the global connectivity that is a contemporary reality of Mouride,
as well as many African, arts.
Pilgrimage to Touba
A pilgrimage to the great mosque of Touba concludes this study,
and suggests that Touba is more than a stationary place—and that faith,
like the memory of place, is a transportable idea that spans continents
and experiences. How peoples transform and redefine religious experience
in new surroundings is the subject of this final lesson.
SLIDES AND TRANSPARENCIES
AND SELECTED WEB LINKAGES