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This gallery offers visitors a journey through urban Senegal. Some Mourides have found substantial material wealth, especially in export-import businesses, but most must work very hard to make a meager living. Through the teachings of Amadu Bamba, self reliant work becomes a form a prayer, and providing for one’s family a goal more important than any. Mouride workplaces are graced by images of the saint, often accompanied by those of his worldly disciple, Ibra Fall. If Bamba is the intellectual ascetic, Fall personifies hard work. A submovement of the Mourides called the Baye Falls live an almost monastic life working with and for their devotional groups and their marabout spiritual leaders.

Many Mourides work in the informal sector—that is, in unsalaried jobs as cobblers, itinerant salesmen, and the like. A bread kiosk, brochette cart, and signs made of recycled materials portraying Bamba as they advertise their wares or services are displayed in the exhibition as they would be on a street in Dakar. A market stall will be recreated in which the saint’s writings and other sacred texts are sold, as will another for transportation paraphernalia including windshield blinds depicting Bamba amidst icons of popular culture from Madonna to Mike Tyson. An accompanying video documents the hard work of Mourides in a Dakar junkyard, where men melt discarded aluminum engine blocks to recast as cooking pots before one’s very eyes. Images of Bamba hanging in such workplaces inspire courage and perseverance.

As a second goal, the gallery will give a sense of a movement of the late 1980s called Set/Setal—"cleanliness and propriety"—that arose among young people who were increasingly frustrated by their lack of paying jobs and the deterioration of their city. People took to the street, not to riot but to beautify public places. Street names were changed, colonial monuments replaced, and soon Dakar was pulsating with dynamic wall murals. Some paintings taught hygiene and safe sex, but more frequent were portraits of resistance figures, popular singers, and, more often than not, Amadu Bamba. An end-of-the-century Senegalese identity emerged, with the saint as its hero.



 
--------------Introduction : Rise of Islam : Life of a Saint : Mass Produced Imagery : Mouride Work Ethic
---Devotional Sanctum : Healing Prayers : Architecture : Apostles : Sainted Women : Global Networks : Pilgrimage