Great Folks Found in Dakar: Moustapha Dieng of Baye Fall

Moumtala (Baye Fall), Dakar Senegal

Moustapha Dieng is the second Baye Fall brother I met in Senegal, after my interpreter and guide, Tafsir Diop (he referred to Moustapha as Moumtala). Moumtala has an open-air ‘antique art’ shop (Musée de Kermel en Pleine Air) in one of the Dakar markets close to the DAK’ART 2014 offices. Tafsir and Moumtala thought our meeting would be about buying something but the honorable ways of Baye Fall brothers (and my vibe) inspired someone to say “get him some tea” (in Wolof and English). And I sat down in front of Moumtala as tea was brought to me, the “American”: no charge (I have a very strong feeling that I bought one of Moumtala’s bogolan mud cloth handbags—for my daughter—out of Tafsir’s backpack a day before our meeting). Moumtala and I exchanged pleasantries like the aging African men I’ve seen in Gaston Kaboré films and then I became aware of the tea…

The tea was sweet with an acidic edge. It was served to me in a shot glass. I do not know what it is called (I think it is called attaya) but it tasted great! Rita Bianchilli writes about what I assume is the same tea I had and details:

As we handed him the glasses, he said: “The first glass represents life, so you drink bitter”. With respect sacred took in his hands the glass and sipping it, I tried to understand, fully, the meaning of this ancient rite…words continued to flow when it came second glass: “This glass is the love and as such should be strong and slightly sweetened,” he said. [translated by Google]

According to

If you are not invited in by a local for attaya, you will likely encounter this drink in Dakar on the street, where you’ll receive just one tiny but potent cup of tea.

…which is exactly what happened to me!

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Great Folks Found in Dakar: Moyo Okediji [@DakartBiennale]

Moyo Okediji at the Global Black Consciousness Conference, Dakar

My short but much appreciated meeting with Moyo Okediji at Hôtel Sokhamon as he attended Global Black Consciousness for DAK’ART 2014 was my only classic journalistic moment for my two weeks on the continent. I saw him, introduced myself very quickly and attempted to secure an interview. You see, modern kids, I did not even know the name Moyo Okediji—but when I looked upon him I knew he was important and relevant to what I was looking for. After the “normal” search engine session, “we” can see Dr. Okediji in detail:

Moyo Okediji was born in Lagos Nigeria. Parents moved to Ile Ife when he was two. He had his primary education in Ile Ife, and went to Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo, for his secondary school. [He] returned to Ife for his university education in 1973, and was awarded a B.A. with honors in Fine Arts in 1977, by the University of Ife. He received his MFA from the University of Benin in 1982, and returned to the University of Ife, where he became a lecturer. He founded and led the Ona Artists in Ile Ife, where he taught classes in painting, drawing, ceramics and art history. He organized several international conferences and symposia, and edited proceedings from some of these events. product

Dr. Okediji is currently Professor of Art History and Director of the Center for the Art of Africa and its Diasporas at The University of Texas at Austin.

After my equally appreciated meeting with Richard J. Powell, researching for books by Moyo Okediji is a must. This effort was fruitful! I am very much looking forward to getting my copy of The Shattered Gourd: Yoruba Forms in Twentieth-Century American Art.

What about the interview you may ask? Was it worthy of my DAK’ART press pass? The motion-picture interview is slated to appear in a documentary in production by R/Kain Blaze. Thanks very much to Dr. Okediji for taking the time.