The traditional subjects of glass painters are of Muslim origin and represent religious subjects (Noah’s ark, Adam and Eve, the sacrifice of Abraham...) and religious heads and founders of brotherhoods (Sheik Amadou Bamba, El Hadj Malick Sy, Saydina Issa Laya...).

Painters also illustrate popular stories like the traditional ones transmitted orally by "griots" (lion hunts, the punishment of the bad husband, genies...).

Also depicted are scenes of everyday life sketched simply in a naive style (a mother nursing her baby, a boxing match, a Koranic school, a thief caught by a policeman, AIDS, polygamy...).

Portraits of women, families and couples in their best outfits also feature in glass pictures.

Some glass pictures are only for decoration (wild or domestic animals, multicoloured birds, flowers...).

For some years now, glass pictures have hung in many houses, introducing artistic and decorative touches and conveying simple messages in an educational, humorous or satiric way within the family about aspects of daily life. These naive representations recall the images of Epinal in France.

The tourist interest in glass pictures has certainly promoted the dissemination of this art form outside Senegal but it has also contributed to a shift in themes: Western and Japanese cartoon strip heroes, non-figurative works and so on. This artistic revival using subjects from popular imagery is flourishing today in the streets and sidewalks of Senegal’s cities.
Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
Canadian Heritage Information Network

© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans