New find of the day: Sarah Markes’ Street level postcard art celebrates the architectural and cultural heritage of Dar es Salaam by documenting the changing city in illustrations and creative writing.
From the minute I saw her illustrations, it was clear to me that Sarah Markes’ work is a celebration of Tanzanai’s famed port city – Dar es Salaam – and its diversity, cleverly reimagined in pen and ink.
Markes’ drawings are full of the life and vibrancy of Dar es Salaam’s cultural and architectural heritage, but she also has a strong purpose behind her artwork – a key objective of her illustrations is to raise awareness of the threats to this heritage posed by rapid and unplanned urban development.
Many of the old Asian buildings in the ‘Dar’, (the city fond moniker), 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 (second edition to be published in 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.
Sarah Markes studied at Central St Martins college of Art in London. She’s created book covers for several major publishers, artwork and graphic design for educational projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and had several exhibitions of her paintings in the UK, Malawi and Tanzania. She currently lives in Tanzania.
Find out more here: www.darsketches.wordpress.com.