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New Gallery Show Connects St. Louis To Its Senegalese Sister City, Saint-Louis

]Senegalese artist Modou Dieng's work titled, "la rue du fleuve," references scenes near his childhood home in Saint-Louis, Senegal.
Modou Dieng
Senegalese artist Modou Dieng's work titled "la rue du fleuve" references scenes near his childhood home in Saint-Louis, Senegal.

Thousands of miles across the Atlantic — 7,505 miles, to be exact — is a city St. Louisans can feel a connection with. In the West African country of Senegal, there is a bustling coastal arts city named Saint-Louis. Known to locals as Ndar, it’s the oldest colonial city on Africa’s western coast. 

A new contemporary art exhibition opening this week at Barrett Barrera Projects in the Central West End surveys the art scene in Senegal’s Saint-Louis — and notes the parallels between the two cities named for St. Louis the King. 

The exhibition is called “Saint-Louis to St. Louis: The City on the River meets River City.”

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, its curator, Modou Dieng, joined host Sarah Fenske to share insights about his native city. 

he exlpores the symbolic and mythological power of pop culture icons through mixed media and hybrid materials.
Credit Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio
Modou Dieng is a Chicago-based artist born in Saint-Louis, Senegal. He explores the symbolic and mythological power of pop culture icons through mixed media and hybrid materials.

“To me, it’s about, first, starting a conversation, because I think the two cities have a lot to give to each other. Today in this global market and in this global atmosphere, we are trying to basically build a bridge over the Atlantic,” Dieng said. 

Through paintings, a fashion show and other media, the exhibit will showcase Senegalese artists and designers. Dieng added that in the future, he hopes to facilitate St. Louis, Missouri, artists showcasing their work in Senegal. 

The opening reception for “Saint-Louis to St. Louis” will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Barrett Barrera Projects.

The conversation included St. Louis resident Sofi Seck. The native of Senegal detailed her efforts to open a school for girls in Saint-Louis through her Missouri-based company Expedition Subsahara

Listen to the full discussion here:

Related Event

What: “Saint-Louis to St. Louis: The City on the River meets River City
When: Oct. 17-Dec. 22, 2019
Where: Barrett Barrera Projects (4739 McPherson Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108)

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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