Popular Art: Glass Painting in Senegal

"We have to paint things about Senegal, about life here, about our customs and the way we dress. People from Mali have to draw what they find in Mali and it is the same case for Togo. I do not want to go beyond our border. French paintings, Napoleon, chateaux, those aren’t Senegalese things", said glass painter Gora Mbengue as reported by Michel Renaudeau and Michèle Strobel (1984) in "Peinture sous verre du Sénégal" (Glass Painting in Senegal).

Glass painting is also called glass pictures (or "souwère" in Wolof) because the medium of this work is glass. The paintings are done on the glass itself but are viewed against the light, through the glass and under the glass.

This painting technique originated in the East and appeared in Senegal with the arrival of Islam. It soon developed in old communities like Saint Louis, Rufisque and Dakar before moving on to all the urban centres that have the materials artists need to produce their works: glass, India ink, paint, brushes, solvent or thinner, cardboard and adhesive paper.
Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
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