Some of the same techniques used in wood sculpture

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Some of the same techniques used in wood sculpture have been applied to the sculpting of Dakar’s volcanic pumice stone. This soft, evenly grained, gray-brown stone is sculpted into human figures or abstract works in outdoor workshops strung along Dakar’s Western Corniche, where they are offered for sale to passing motorists. Sous-verre glass painting constitutes the second major category of tourist art. The sous-verre technique requires painting a picture on the reverse side
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±² CULTURE AND CUSTOMS OF SENEGAL of a pane of glass. Often called “naïve,” the flat paintings are very bright, with cartoonish characteristics. Sous-verre started out as a popular art form, a folk art produced by artisans for the enjoyment and pious edification of ordinary people. The technique was introduced to Senegal, along with other Muslim devotional literature and apparel, by Lebanese and Moroccan mer- chants in the late nineteenth century. Originally, religious themes dominated the genre: portraits of Sufi saints, biblical or Koranic scenes like the me- nagerie on Noah’s ark or Al-Buraq, (the Prophet’s winged horse), flying over Jerusalem. By the time of independence, artists had begun producing typical scenes—scenes of life in the village, at the market, on the road; street scenes; musicians playing instruments; women dancing; and so forth. National heroes such as Lat Dior and Kocc Barma were also represented. It was at this time that tourists began buying sous-verre. The best-known artist of that era was Gora Mbengue (1931–1988). Both changing popular tastes and tourist tastes impacted the themes explored. In the 1970s works included portraits of Bob Marley and Che Guevara, and pan-African and Rastafarian themes and colors were in the forefront. Moreover, formally trained artists such as Germaine Anta Gaye (b. 1953), Sérigne Ndiaye, Abdoulay Thiam, Babacar Ly, and Mamadou Gaye invested in the genre, innovating in both technique and subject matter. No longer exclusively producing street art or tourist art, sous-verre artists are now exhibiting in Dakar’s top art galleries as well as in galleries in Europe. S TUDIO A RT , P AINTING , AND S CULPTURE Unlike street art or tourist art, studio art is produced by trained artists in studios or workshops, and it is intended for an increasingly international art market. These arts—painting and sculpture especially, but also tapestry— benefited greatly from state patronage during the Senghor years. The First World Festival of Negro Arts, held in Dakar in 1966, was followed by a flurry of state investments in art forms that had not previously been practiced in Senegal. One of the early achievements was the Manufactures Sénegalaises des Arts Décoratifs, set up in Thiès in 1966. It is famous for the large, hand- woven tapestries it produces. Another product of this policy was the creation of an Ecole des Arts in Dakar. The most well-known artists of this genera- tion are Iba Ndiaye (b. 1928), known for his jazz-inspired oil paintings; Papa Ibra Tall (b. 1935), who explored rhythm and African symbolism in
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