Back in 2004 I was able to convince the museum to split costs and I was able to attend the Dak’Arts Biennial where not only was I able to see some of the cutting edge of contemporary African Art but also had a lot of time to investigate the city.

One day I hired a translator as well as a cabbie for the entire day. Their job was to show me the back alleys of Dakar and interact with people. The translator, in addition to French, spoke the native Wolof dialect and was able to assure the people we came upon that the white man with a video camera was not there to exploit them but rather, was compiling footage for his workplace, the National Museum of African Art.

I was able to see two schools, two galleries, the preeminent glass painter of Senegal, the marketplace (unbelievable), a gathering of drum makers who broke into an impromptu jam as well as artisans plying their trade on street corners.
All over town you will see different murals, wall paintings and other devotional offerings dedicated to Amadou Bamba M’Back, or just “Bamba.” Here is one of the better ones I took.
Didn’t buy as much as I would have wanted to but I did buy one of the glass artworks and had a traditional street wear pair of pants and shirt handmade from cloth I bought at the market. I am so glad that I was able to get there. Africa is an amazing continent. Would love to go to Tangiers, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam and South Africa next. We’ll see!
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