Home Institution

University of Denver

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Senegal: National Identity and the Arts


On 3 April 2010, President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal inaugurated and dedicated the African Renaissance Monument to the people of his country, the people of Africa, and the rest of the world. By far one of the largest and most ambitious of his “Grand Projects,” the Monument has been enshrouded in controversy since its inception. Some have called it an idolatrous statue that insults the fundamental values of Islam, while others have praised it as a beacon of freedom leading Africa into the future. The research focuses on this controversy, and we begin by understanding the background and underlying debate of if the Monument has transformed from a symbol of freedom to a symbol of the national frustration of the people towards their government. A variety of opinions and perspectives were collected from three important and conducive fields: artistic, political, and academic. In the end, the hope is to gain a better insight into the controversy through analysis of the three perspectives and come to a conclusion on the Monument’s actual representation


Arts and Humanities | Family, Life Course, and Society | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Politics and Social Change