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Travel is implicit to Islam, as exemplified by the restless life of the Prophet. Pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, but a dream only a few of the most fortunate Mourides can realize. While facing Mecca in prayer as the "pole" of Islam, their more proximate world finds its center at Touba. Touba was founded by Amadu Bamba in unpopulated woods cleared by Lamp Fall. In three short generations, Touba has blossomed to become the second city of Senegal. It is in Touba that Bamba and Fall are buried, as all Mourides hope to be. It is there that one of only two surviving sons of the saint sits as Caliph. It is there that some two million Mourides congregate for the Magal, an annual pilgrimage in pious recognition of all the saint means to Mourides in their lives the long year through; but it is also a reunion of family and friends celebrating the joys of fellowship. Senegalese are famous for their warm generosity, but the sumptuous meals of the Magal shared with anyone wishing to partake of them define the word "hospitality" itself. Photo murals and videos will allow Passport to Paradise visitors to join the happy throngs of the Magal.

Touba is transportable. Bumpers of trucks owned by Mourides like the one seen to the right are welded in the form of the Lamp Fall minaret of Touba’s Great Mosque. In Milan, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and throughout their commercial diaspora, signs bearing the word "Touba" are to be found on Mouride businesses. The saint is there, anywhere and everywhere.

In leaving Passport to Paradise, the visitor will experience a last moment of visual transcendence through a high-contrast scape of twenty-eight paintings of Amadu Bamba by Assane Dione. Although they may seem the same, each reveals different secrets to those who can pierce the image to discern its hidden Scripture and numerology. Twenty-eight is the mystical number of Touba, and the bank of images IS that holy place of intense baraka blessing. In leaving the exhibition, visitors leave Touba.


--------------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