New Materials and Contexts

By Mary Nooter Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles

Senegal, Xerox art for religious worship. Photo by Mary Nooter Roberts, Allen F. Roberts.

In addition to experimentation with alternative media such as photography and writing, some contemporary sacred arts have adopted the use of photocopying. Photocopied reproductions of Sheik Amadou Bamba, founder of the Mouride Brotherhood in Senegal, is a devotional image sold in street displays with images of other resistance fighters and revolutionaries, such as Bob Marley and Patrice Lumumba. They are hung on the walls of homes and businesses to bring well-being through remembrance of Bamba's deeds and messages. Bamba was a Sufi saint whose pacifist resistance to colonialism has become a symbol of national pride and identity. In some photocopies, the saint is shown in a pose that derives from a single photograph taken of him in 1913.