Spencer exhibit focuses on sheik revered in mystic arm of Islam

A reverse-glass painting by Mor Gueye shows Amadou Bamba praying on the waters during his exile, which is considered one of his defining miracles. The painting is one of the exhibits in A

The image of Amadou Bamba is a constant reminder to residents of Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

The mystic sheik lived from 1853 to 1927 but remains the center for the Sufi movement of Islam known as the Mouride Way. Now, artwork of Bamba is found nearly everywhere in Dakar – on doors, buses, trinkets, T-shirts and murals.

Starting tonight, that artwork also can be found at the Spencer Museum of Art at Kansas University. The museum opens “A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal,” a large, traveling exhibit of artwork from Dakar that was curated by the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at the University of California-Los Angeles.

The opening reception is from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. today and will feature Senegalese food and drink, and music by the Kansas City group Soundz of Africa.” The exhibit, which includes murals and signs, glass paintings, healing verses written in calligraphy, textiles and paintings, runs through May 20.

Bamba was an advocate for peace and hard work, and he was exiled because of views against French colonialism. He later returned from exile, which was extremely rare in Senegal.

“A Saint in the City” is the focus of this week’s Pulse Podcast, as well as an accompanying video version, both available Friday at www.ljworld.com. Gitti Salami, an assistant professor of art history and of African and African-American studies, explains the significance behind the artwork of Bamba.

For more information about events tied to the exhibit, visit www.spencerart.ku.edu.