Dar Sketches is part of the Street Level project initiated by artist and illustrator Sarah Markes. It is a celebration of the cultural and architectural heritage of Dar es Salaam as well as an effort to raise awareness of the threats to this heritage posed by rapid and unplanned urban development.
Many of the old Asian buildings in the city centre have been demolished in recent years and replaced by generic glass high-rise. In addition to the loss of history this dramatically changes the lives of residents, their livelihoods, environment and access to services.
While not a plea to freeze development, the project aims to encourage thought and discussion around the city’s transitions in the hope that more sustainable solutions can be found. It does this by portraying aspects of the city in artwork, through the words of the city’s best contemporary creative writers and the views of key architectural heritage and conservation experts.
The project comprises publication of the Street Level book (first edition published June 2011, second edition August 2012), a series of exhibitions, sales of prints and postcards, creation of a walking tour map and app, and involvement in various heritage awareness activities. It also aims to encourage creative writing and the collection of histories about Dar – comments, stories and anecdotes about any aspect of life in Dar are always extremely welcome via the blog or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviews and interviews
I am electrified by your unique contribution to my home town. When my 76 year old Dad in Dar flipped through the pages, his knee jerk comment was reading your book was better than seeing Dar in a movie. – Sajjad
A truly delightful book, a must for those who love Dar and those who care about its history. – MG Vassanje
My father grew up in Natwar House… I have photos of the building, but none capture the beauty and spirit like your illustration. I cannot imagine a better keepsake to connect me to this part of my heritage. – Rishi
The Street Level book was awarded ‘Honor Book for Older Readers’ by the Children’s Africana Book Award 2012, organized by the African Studies Association in the US: www.AfricaAccessReview.org
MoCADA Museum, Brooklyn, New York, August 2013
Library of Congress, Washington DC, November 2012
Smithsonian Museum of African Art, Washington DC, November 2012
Busboys and Poets, Washington DC, November 2012
Dar International Academy,Dar es Salaam, May 2011
TEDxDar, Dar es Salaam, August 2010
Prints and cards