of Amadu Bamba possesses and conveys baraka blessing
energy. The tiny reception room of Serigne Faye is so covered
with paintings of the saint and his closest family and followers
that it can be called an "imagorium." Even the
ceiling is painted as a trompe l’oeil path leading
skyward to Heaven. The imagorium’s baraka is so intense
that it can be said to possess a visual piety that
structures devotional experience. It is here that Faye receives
people seeking his inspired guidance and healing powers.
It is here that his followers, called talibés,
congregate in the late afternoon to listen to his sermons,
pray, and sing zikr "songs of remembrance"
and khassaïd odes written by Amadu Bamba. The
joy of the talibés mounts as they sing in
the company of the saints present through their images.
Serigne Faye’s bedroom, seen in a photograph to the right,
is also charged with imagery, for the holy man says that
he wants to see the Bamba and those closest to the saint
as he closes his eyes at night and again when opens them
in the morning. The saint protects him as he sleeps, and
informs his dreams.
imagorium portraits have been painted by one of Serigne
Faye’s talibés named Assane Dione (see Artist
Portrait). They will be borrowed for a reconstruction of
the imagorium in the Passport to Paradise exhibition.
The portrait of Amadu Bamba shown on this website’s homepage
is by Dione, as are the paintings and a banner seen here,
that depicts the Kaaba of Mecca with the holy names Allah
and Mohammed superimposed. Most of the men portrayed by
Dione are Bamba’s sons who have served as caliphs in Touba.
Sheikh Ibra Fall receives Dione’s special attention, as
in the stunning portrait filling an entire wall of Serigne
Faye’s bedroom. Dione is a highly educated man with graphic
arts and design training, but although his paintings may
appear to be works of photo-realism, one can learn to "pierce"
them and discern divine secrets. Videotaped interviews with
Assane Dione and Serigne Faye will be seen in the gallery.