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Moussa Tine is an important contemporary artist whose works have been shown at a number of local and several international exhibitions. Although he has received some beaux-arts training, his first career was as a self-taught sign-painter. In particular, he created and for twenty years ran a small business painting motifs on the colorful car rapides or public transport mini-vans that ply the streets of Dakar. He began this profession quite by chance, having come to Dakar as a boy to find a first job as a ticket-taker on a car rapide. When he painted scenes from the life of Amadu Bamba inside of the mini-van, others commissioned his work. Soon he was painting the eyes, eagles, flowers, and other motifs on the outsides of vans that make the vehicles so famously picturesque. Some of these designs he invented, with his most celebrated and frequently copied picture an image of Lamp Fall stretched in a running position, a club in his hand and his dreads flowing behind him. Tine did well enough to begin taking classes at the National School of Fine Arts, where he learned to use the acrylics that remain his preferred medium.

a. Moussa Tine in his studio, Dakar. Photo 1999. Moussa Tine maintains a small live-in studio in downtown Dakar, which doubles as a gallery; but most of his painting is now undertaken in a larger studio at the state run Artists' Village near the city football (soccer) stadium. He spends most weekends in Thiès, where his wife and children live an hour's drive from Dakar.
b. Untitled collage by Moussa Tine, Dakar. Photo 1999. Moussa Tine paints for an upscale local market, and his work is becoming recognized internationally. His large canvases are painted in acrylics that harmonize with the colors of arid Senegal. In the late 1990s Tine began a series of collages by attaching figures made from recycled metal to his canvases. His figures represent Baye Fall followers of Shiekh Ibra "Lamp" Fall, with the roughly rectangular metal pieces their colorful patchwork tunics. Baye Falls are known for their fiendishly hard work, both for their marabout spiritual leaders, and for their families. They feel great solidarity for each other through mutual suffering and the toil to find sustenance. When Tine still painted logos on buses, he too worked endless hours in the blistering sun; now he hopes to convey these uplifting qualities through his art.
c. Detail of an untitled collage by Moussa Tine, Dakar. Photo 1999. Moussa Tine has made a series of collages with recycled materials, first using discarded fragments of plywood, and more recently exploring the qualities of recyled metals. He prefers to use parts of automobile mufflers because such iron can endure the stress of heat. Here a detail of one of his figures shows the manner in which Tine works the metal in a kind of punched repoussé to suggest patterns of dress and movement of hardworking Baye Falls.
d. Untitled painting by Moussa Tine, Dakar. Photo 1999. Baye Falls are dancing in a circle, finding joy in their slow, sweeping movements that accompany the ecstatic singing of zikr "songs of remembrance." Community cohesion is recognized in the dance, for the circling refers to the circumambulation of Amadu Bamba's tomb and other practices defining the pole of the Mouride devotional world. Tine wishes to convey how uplifting this experience is, and the shaft to the right of the painting directs the gaze upward, but is also a path of baraka blessed energy descending from the heavens to the dancing Baye Falls.

e. Untitled Collage by Moussa Tine, Dakar. Photo 1999. In 1999, Tine began a new series of paintings, with much the same purpose as his earlier work, but using cloth applied to the canvas as the tunics of Baye Falls. All of Tine's paintings depict relationships--between and among Baye Falls, among family members, and between people and divinity. The work seen here demonstrates hierarchy, for the tall figure is slightly bent toward its shorter fellows, watching over and guiding them as does a parent or a marabout spiritual leader.