Express buses are the main form of public transport in Senegal, especially in the Cap Vert peninsula. These are pick-up trucks that have been modified to take passengers: two up front beside the driver, ten on a moveable seat at the back, parallel to the driver’s seat and five on each side, perpendicular to the others, for a total of twenty-two passengers.

A young man at the back of the bus, the "apprentice", takes the fares and stops the bus on request.

These buses operate not only in towns between one neighbourhood and another but also between different regions. When people go into the countryside, they take advantage of the opportunity to bring home products that are less expensive than in town. These purchases travel on the roof rack. Thus, a sheep for "Tabaski" (a Muslim religious festival commemorating the sacrifice of Abraham) is stowed next to sleeping mats, mortars, calabashes and other bundles.

Public vehicles can be recognized by their blue and yellow colours. They are often decorated with fruits, animals and sometimes with figures and religious sayings.
Buses, like taxis (yellow and black), navigate the ci Read More
Express buses are the main form of public transport in Senegal, especially in the Cap Vert peninsula. These are pick-up trucks that have been modified to take passengers: two up front beside the driver, ten on a moveable seat at the back, parallel to the driver’s seat and five on each side, perpendicular to the others, for a total of twenty-two passengers.

A young man at the back of the bus, the "apprentice", takes the fares and stops the bus on request.

These buses operate not only in towns between one neighbourhood and another but also between different regions. When people go into the countryside, they take advantage of the opportunity to bring home products that are less expensive than in town. These purchases travel on the roof rack. Thus, a sheep for "Tabaski" (a Muslim religious festival commemorating the sacrifice of Abraham) is stowed next to sleeping mats, mortars, calabashes and other bundles.

Public vehicles can be recognized by their blue and yellow colours. They are often decorated with fruits, animals and sometimes with figures and religious sayings.
Buses, like taxis (yellow and black), navigate the city streets because most people cannot afford to own a car.

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

Glass Painting

The Express Bus

Mor Guèye
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
c. 1997
© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Many handicapped people can be seen in the streets of Dakar. They belong to the urban environment. Some can move around because humanitarian agencies have given them wheelchairs while others have more rudimentary vehicles made from boards and wheels.

People can be handicapped from birth or as a result of diseases like leprosy, polio (mobility impairment) and onchocerciasis (river blindness).

Most handicapped people live by begging and this phenomenon is encouraged by the practice of charity, one of the five obligations of the Muslim religion.

The artist has portrayed a handicapped person passing in the street. He has been careful, however, to ensure that this person is good looking, is not begging and is in a well-decorated and tidy chair surrounded by children. "Souwérites" or glass painters always seem to be able to turn painful situations into happy ones.

The handicapped person as well as the person pushing him are "Baye Fall", recognizable by their patchwork outfits and Rastafarian hairdos. The "Baye Fall" are followers of the Islamic brotherhood, the Mourides.
Many handicapped people can be seen in the streets of Dakar. They belong to the urban environment. Some can move around because humanitarian agencies have given them wheelchairs while others have more rudimentary vehicles made from boards and wheels.

People can be handicapped from birth or as a result of diseases like leprosy, polio (mobility impairment) and onchocerciasis (river blindness).

Most handicapped people live by begging and this phenomenon is encouraged by the practice of charity, one of the five obligations of the Muslim religion.

The artist has portrayed a handicapped person passing in the street. He has been careful, however, to ensure that this person is good looking, is not begging and is in a well-decorated and tidy chair surrounded by children. "Souwérites" or glass painters always seem to be able to turn painful situations into happy ones.

The handicapped person as well as the person pushing him are "Baye Fall", recognizable by their patchwork outfits and Rastafarian hairdos. The "Baye Fall" are followers of the Islamic brotherhood, the Mourides.

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

Glass Painting

The Handicapped

Babacar Lô
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
c. 1996
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


There are no crystal balls or tarot cards in Senegal. Nonetheless the people of this country, like others, want to know what their future will be to better manage or change it. This is why people go to fetishers and wise men to find out if their financial transactions, marriages, births, exams and life events will be favourable or unfavourable. If the latter, the wise man may suggest recipes and formulas to change the course of fate.

To read the future, wise men use cowry shells thrown into a winnowing basket. Depending on the way the shells fall, the wise man tells you what you have to do (sacrifice chickens or livestock, carry protective charms, gifts and charity to the needy, etc...).

Horns, bottles, vials and all containers decorated with cowry shells contain formulations that can be used to make charms and protective talismans. The wise man with his great embroidered boubou is also protected by the amulets on his forehead and on top of his head.

Cowry shells (shells from the Indian Ocean) were once used in West Africa as money. Today they are used by wise men to decorate their headdresses and clothing.
There are no crystal balls or tarot cards in Senegal. Nonetheless the people of this country, like others, want to know what their future will be to better manage or change it. This is why people go to fetishers and wise men to find out if their financial transactions, marriages, births, exams and life events will be favourable or unfavourable. If the latter, the wise man may suggest recipes and formulas to change the course of fate.

To read the future, wise men use cowry shells thrown into a winnowing basket. Depending on the way the shells fall, the wise man tells you what you have to do (sacrifice chickens or livestock, carry protective charms, gifts and charity to the needy, etc...).

Horns, bottles, vials and all containers decorated with cowry shells contain formulations that can be used to make charms and protective talismans. The wise man with his great embroidered boubou is also protected by the amulets on his forehead and on top of his head.

Cowry shells (shells from the Indian Ocean) were once used in West Africa as money. Today they are used by wise men to decorate their headdresses and clothing.

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

Glass Painting

Holy Man

Babacar Lô
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"

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


In towns, as in the countryside, the courtyard of the house or the homestead is full of life. People live outside because it is cooler there than inside and there is much more space. The household animals (especially sheep) may also be found there.

Many activities take place in the courtyard: drinking tea, braiding hair, conversations ("palabres"), children’s first steps, meal preparation, grinding (the pestle is under the table), laundry and ironing. This is the place to meet neighbours and friends. Small benches and stools are the most common seats because they are just the right height for sorting rice, making couscous and tea or braiding hair. A sleeping mat is also an indispensable item. You can lie down on it to take a siesta or sit more comfortably by stretching out your legs.

Girls have their hair braided because it is difficult to do yourself (it is even impossible for some kinds of hairstyles). Each hairstyle has a different name (little braids, reversed, "life", "fatou", "loyélé...) That way you can order the hairdo you want by name since all the braiders know what they are called. Hairstyles can be made fro Read More
In towns, as in the countryside, the courtyard of the house or the homestead is full of life. People live outside because it is cooler there than inside and there is much more space. The household animals (especially sheep) may also be found there.

Many activities take place in the courtyard: drinking tea, braiding hair, conversations ("palabres"), children’s first steps, meal preparation, grinding (the pestle is under the table), laundry and ironing. This is the place to meet neighbours and friends. Small benches and stools are the most common seats because they are just the right height for sorting rice, making couscous and tea or braiding hair. A sleeping mat is also an indispensable item. You can lie down on it to take a siesta or sit more comfortably by stretching out your legs.

Girls have their hair braided because it is difficult to do yourself (it is even impossible for some kinds of hairstyles). Each hairstyle has a different name (little braids, reversed, "life", "fatou", "loyélé...) That way you can order the hairdo you want by name since all the braiders know what they are called. Hairstyles can be made from your own hair or with extensions of artificial hair.

You often find one or more women in families who know how to braid hair. If no one can do it for you, braiders will come to your house or you can go to hair salons.
Having your hair braided takes a long time and is very boring because you have to stay in uncomfortable positions for hours (some little girls fall asleep). Braiding can also hurt because the tighter the braids, the prettier they are and the longer they last. You can wash your hair without undoing the braids. To make braiding easier, women use oil or shea butter, products that nourish the scalp and the hair. To undo the braids, a wooden comb with large strong teeth is used.

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

Glass Painting

The Courtyard

Rass
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
c. 1997
© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


The main religion in Senegal is Islam (over 80 percent of the population). Religion, and more especially the Koran, the holy book of Islam, is taught from childhood in Koranic schools under the supervision of a master called a marabout. All young boys and girls can go to the neighbourhood or village Koranic school to learn to read and to recite Koranic verses.

The marabout teaches children to read Koranic verses, written in Arabic (from left to right) on wooden tablets. The Koranic school is a difficult one. The marabout holds a cane in one hand and the tablet of the child he is questioning in the other. Watch out if you can’t recite from memory!

The marabout sits on a tanned sheepskin, most certainly the sheep that was sacrificed on the day of Tabaski or Aïd el Kébir (commemorating the sacrifice of Abraham). The marabout uses this skin as a prayer rug, which is why he takes off his slippers (of Moroccan origin) as he would do if he were entering a mosque.

Often boys may be entrusted to the marabout by their parents. They then live in "dara", a combination of Koranic school and work camp. The boys, called "talibés", must t Read More
The main religion in Senegal is Islam (over 80 percent of the population). Religion, and more especially the Koran, the holy book of Islam, is taught from childhood in Koranic schools under the supervision of a master called a marabout. All young boys and girls can go to the neighbourhood or village Koranic school to learn to read and to recite Koranic verses.

The marabout teaches children to read Koranic verses, written in Arabic (from left to right) on wooden tablets. The Koranic school is a difficult one. The marabout holds a cane in one hand and the tablet of the child he is questioning in the other. Watch out if you can’t recite from memory!

The marabout sits on a tanned sheepskin, most certainly the sheep that was sacrificed on the day of Tabaski or Aïd el Kébir (commemorating the sacrifice of Abraham). The marabout uses this skin as a prayer rug, which is why he takes off his slippers (of Moroccan origin) as he would do if he were entering a mosque.

Often boys may be entrusted to the marabout by their parents. They then live in "dara", a combination of Koranic school and work camp. The boys, called "talibés", must take responsibility for feeding and clothing themselves. They beg for their supper with empty tomato paste tins to which they often attach an iron or string handle. Their clothing is frequently torn, patched and dirty.

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

Glass Painting

Koran School

Amadou Diallo
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"

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


A policeman is arresting a thief. These are also scenes of daily life. We see from this picture that glass painters sympathize with the concerns of ordinary people and therefore oppose authority. The thief, even though he has been caught, continues to smile and maintain his composure.
A policeman is arresting a thief. These are also scenes of daily life. We see from this picture that glass painters sympathize with the concerns of ordinary people and therefore oppose authority. The thief, even though he has been caught, continues to smile and maintain his composure.

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

Glass Painting

The Policeman and the Thief

Mor Guèye
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
c. 1996
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Tea is more than a beverage in Senegal, it is a ceremony and a kind of institution. People sometimes drink tea at breakfast but more particularly after meals. It is also the beverage that is offered to friends and visitors. Drinking tea promotes conversation and maintains friendship because it takes a long time to prepare properly.

A mint tea, served in three separate stages, is called "the three concoctions". Chinese green tea leaves are put into the teapot with some water and mint leaves and boiled over a charcoal stove.

Sugar is added to the teapot and the tea is poured into small glasses of a certain height and then poured back and forth from the glass to the teapot several times so that foam appears in the glass. The thicker the foam, the better the tea.

The first glass of tea is quite bitter, the second is sweeter and the third is very sweet but does not have much taste because the same leaves are used to prepare all three glasses.

The words used in various ethnic languages to refer to the tea, the teapot and the mint are borrowed from Arabic, proving that Senegalese mint tea is of Moorish origin.

The woman pr Read More
Tea is more than a beverage in Senegal, it is a ceremony and a kind of institution. People sometimes drink tea at breakfast but more particularly after meals. It is also the beverage that is offered to friends and visitors. Drinking tea promotes conversation and maintains friendship because it takes a long time to prepare properly.

A mint tea, served in three separate stages, is called "the three concoctions". Chinese green tea leaves are put into the teapot with some water and mint leaves and boiled over a charcoal stove.

Sugar is added to the teapot and the tea is poured into small glasses of a certain height and then poured back and forth from the glass to the teapot several times so that foam appears in the glass. The thicker the foam, the better the tea.

The first glass of tea is quite bitter, the second is sweeter and the third is very sweet but does not have much taste because the same leaves are used to prepare all three glasses.

The words used in various ethnic languages to refer to the tea, the teapot and the mint are borrowed from Arabic, proving that Senegalese mint tea is of Moorish origin.

The woman preparing the tea comes from Mauritania, a neighbouring country to Senegal. She is wearing a traditional woman’s outfit.

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

Glass Painting

Tea

Amath
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"

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


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • describe elements of life in Senegal, with emphasis on everyday life and diversity of people;
  • describe the colours and patterns utilized by glass painting artists and analyze how these artistic elements relate to the theme communicated through the finished product;
  • describe the role of glass painting in Senegal’s culture.

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