Release Date: February 1st 2003
Published by: University of Washington Press
Drawing on the long history of Islamic arts in sub-Saharan Africa, A Saint in the City investigates in depth the vibrant and sophisticated arts of urban Senegal. Underscoring the interconnectedness of art and life, it insightfully penetrates the visual culture of the Mouride Way, a Sufi movement steeped in the mystical teachings of Sheikh Amadou Bamba (1853-1927). It focuses in particular on the ways in which sacred images "work" for people as powerful acts of devotion and prayer. The remarkable proliferation of arts in the city of Dakar, from bold street murals to virtuosic calligraphy and intricate, colorful glass paintings, attests to the transformative potency of images in Mouridism. This way of life, grounded in the dignity and sanctity of work as conveyed by the teachings of Amadou Bamba, is observed by over four million Senegalese--half the Muslim population in this small country--as well as by thousands more around the globe.
A Saint in the City brings together a range of artists--regardless of background, training, rootedness in the "traditional" medium, or style--who share a belief in the Mouride Way. The book boldly transgresses the boundaries normally enforced between the local and the global, fine art and popular art, the gallery and the street, the historical and the contemporary.