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.
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
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.